Problems with the PlayBook Android player

While visiting with family for the weekend, my sister had a complaint about her PlayBook. She told me that sometimes the apps “open on top of each other”, and that then the previous apps “is no longer there”. She noticed that it “only does it to some apps”, and was happy to report that none of my apps did this.

Without knowing it she was, of course, talking about the Android app player. And how despite looking like any other app when on the homescreen, launches within the Android app player and acts very different then all other apps when multitasking.

This is a bit of a serious issue when it comes to user expectations and consistency of the interface. As a developer, I understand why these apps act differently, but for the typical consumer it is utterly baffling. When noticing the bar of app icons at the bottom of the android app play (which slides up from the bottom, after you swipe down from the top bezel) my sister noted that it has “all these things open that I haven’t had open in days, and those shouldn’t be open”. As to if those apps were actually still open or not, is a question that even I don’t know the answer to.

This inconsistent user interface is something that should be addressed in future versions of the OS. Or at the very least, RIM needs to be more upfront about the limitations of Android apps on the PlayBook, and start pushing more native technologies.