Research in Motion (RIM) is planning to allow Android apps to run on the latest generation of BlackBerry smartphones due to be launched in 2012, according to Bloomberg.

The new smartphones will run on the company’s next-generation QNX software, according to Bloomberg’s sources, and support Android apps in a similar way to the company’s BlackBerry PlayBook tablet PC, which launched in May.

The PlayBook runs the QNX software and is able to support more than 200,000 Android applications as well as around 25,000 Java-based apps on RIM’s own App World app store. RIM has launched two ‘app players’ for the PlayBook to provide a run-time environment for BlackBerry Java apps and Android 2.3 apps.

BlackBerry devices have been losing ground in the smartphone market in recent times – partly due to relatively few products being launched. The QNX OS is aimed at revamping the BlackBerry device range by adding new features and widening the portfolio of available applications.

RIM is believed to be planning to launch its first QNX-based smartphone in early 2012 and allowing Android apps to run on new handsets should provide a further boost for the company's next generation of handsets.

RIM introduced several new BlackBerry models running on the BlackBerry 7 OS earlier this month, but the company has said that the most recent quarter could see sales drop for the first time in nine years.