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Blackberry 10.2.1 Goes Live Today, Brings a Full Android Runtime for Sideloading APKs

blackberry z10

We typically try to avoid Blackberry talk as much as we can on DL, but this latest update to Blackberry 10 brings in all sorts of Android fun. We grabbed the update’s changelog for Verizon’s Blackberry Z10 since the changelog is a solid 5 pages long. On the bottom of page two, there is a reference to it including a full Android Runtime that includes support for running native versions of Android apps that are APKs.

In the past, there was some half-baked trickery involved that needed to be performed in order for Android apps to run on a Blackberry device, but now with Blackberry 10.2.1, there is full support for Android apps. APK files can even be directly installed through a browser, with a wizard walking you through the setup. 

ANDROID RUNTIME

  • New Android Native Support adds support for running native versions of Android JellyBean applications in APK format without the need to convert
  • Applications using Android Bluetooth® SPI’s are now supported
  • Android application can integrate with BlackBerry Share Targets

APK INSTALLATION

  • Install APK files directly from the browser, email or File Manager
  • Tap APK file to install, and the wizard will walk you through installation

I’m not sure this should make you want a Blackberry 10 device any more than you did yesterday, but hey, Android! The update should be available to all Blackberry 10 devices – at least that is my understanding of a platform that has died at least five times already.

The rest of the changelog is below.

Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 11.22.24 AM Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 11.22.34 AM

Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 11.22.41 AM Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 11.22.50 AM

Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 11.22.59 AM

Via:  Verizon
  • Twixes

    It doesn’t work for me :( I see just “Processing”, a circle and black background. Can anyone help me?

  • nimblejack

    Does the android RT on BB call home to Google? if so its a big NO THANKS.

  • Davros

    Cool, it’s been so long since I’ve seen a Droid X :)

  • Ayush

    If I’m able to run GMaps, Pebble, Hangouts, Youtube, and Play Music (in addition to third party apps whose APK’s should work) then I will definitely consider the Q10 because of it’s stellar keyboard.

    • Joe

      Gmaps runs, only problem is that you can’t save maps…but there’s a workaround for that if you search on crackberry.com. the android youtupe app works, but you can’t sign in, but using the blackberry youtube “app” (it’s not really an app), you can lock your phone/do everything else while the sound stills runs in the backround. Hangouts doesn’t run, but I know android doesn’t have the full BBM experience yet, but trust me BBM on blackberry is miles ahead of it’s iOS/android couterpart (voice calls, video calls, screen sharing, glympse, channels, blackberry HD sound). and Play music does work, but i could be mistaken. but there’s a native app done by some dev in BBW for play music. and talk2watch makes your bb10 work with pebbles watches. Honestly, check crackberry.com out and i’m sure you’d end up getting that Q10, don’t listen to the media, bb10/QNX is a great OS, and that’s from someone who did/does use android/apple products

  • Dylan

    The only manufacturer making money on selling Android phones right now is Samsung. HTC, Motorolla etc run at a loss. BBRY at least has a differentiator in so far as their OS is the most secure in the world. They can’t compete in the consumer space anymore and are now a enterprise focused software business, but their is no money to be made in selling Android phones anymore. Only Google and Samsung profit from that game.

  • Disqus_n00b

    I always thought BB’s best move circa 2011 was to combine BB Hardware and Android OS, while layering on some of the better BB software features. They still could’ve kept QNX for the enterprise. Once you are late on the consumer bandwagon…it is very, very tough to get back on

    • possomcrast1

      HTC essentially took Blackberry design ques and applied them to Android with Sense (early sense especially).

      • Dylan

        And HTC is in worse shape than BBRY unfortunately. They are going to be absorbed by Lenovo in 2014 gaurenteed

        • possomcrast1

          It’ll take at least a few years for that to happen.

      • Mike Hilal

        Very early sense…not so much now

  • Green

    They just lost a huge account in hubby’s company. They’ve been using Blackberry for years. Last week, they gave everyone a choice: iPhone 5c or Galaxy S4. Most have chosen the G S4, including hubby. He’s so happy that he now has a real phone. :)

    • Dylan

      I’m an iPhone user but too bad your hubby didn’t try a BB10 device. My wife has one and I now prefer hers to my iPhone 5. BB10 OS is honestly really cool. And I like that it’s not all tied up with apple proprietary accounts and/or the Scroogle accounts

  • Jayracer7474

    648 mb!

  • possomcrast1

    Blackberry should give in an convert to an Android hardware manufacturer. I don’t like saying that as it decreases choice and market diversity, but for the time being consumers see their two choices as iOS and Android. Blackberry have a well known name so they should be able to invest in a high quality hardware design and go all in. “The Blackberry ____ ,running Android 5.0; a brand new device running the world’s most advanced mobile operating system from the people who made the original smartphone”.

    • charlie2010

      I’m sure malware producers the world over would rejoice.

    • nimblejack

      BB’s key is its security, unmatched in Android or iWhatever. Android is, at best, a child’s OS. No one does serious work on Android.

  • enigmaco

    So we have BlackBerry allowing Android apks, a Nokia Android phone floating around, and a lot of Google Apps in the app store big things popping.

  • John Legere
  • Philip J. Fry

    I bet this won’t hurt them anymore than they already are. They might as well make it run full android while they’re at it.

    • http://www.droid-life.com Kellex B

      Not really sure why they are holding out from switching to Android. That’s Blackberry for you.

      • Philip J. Fry

        I guarantee they would sell more devices. Blackberry had their time and now that time has passed. They better do something if they want to survive this competition or they just might go under.

        • kels

          Doesnt make sense to go android, much more establish android makers (LG, HTC, Sony) cant turn a profit with it why would Blackberry go that route

          • Philip J. Fry

            I don’t think it matters at this point. They need to try anything to stay afloat right now.

          • kels

            That can be answered by looking at the other companies on the brink who already run Android. At least with their own software and the ability to run Android apps with no conversion they can establish themselves as the most secure non android android

          • Dylan

            They are trying to be a MDM company now with a few software products. The handset division is not their business model anymore. They cannot compete against android and iOS in the handset space. They are making a small number of phones for niche markets – developing world, enterprise users, etc.

        • Daistaar

          Exactly! Go the way of Sega. Pull out of the OS game and make something viable on another’s platform. Their hardware is sought after; it’s the app ecosystem and software that are lagging behind.

      • richkoos

        This could be their foot in the door, they could silently switch to using android apks in the background slowly building their own forked version of android without the play store but rather blackberryworld.

        • Piero

          There’s money in having your own marketplace so no this is not Blackberry secretly moving to Android. Android is the least secure and most fragmented OS. What this is is a strategy to close the app gap. By having the Android runtime, developers can either port their free or paid apps easily to Blackberry World without having to build native (though that’s not the long term desire hence the new ‘Built for Blackberry’ badging and branding) or allow users to install their favorite apps even if the developers don’t port the apps to Blackberry World. It’s a short term strategy so that “Lack of Apps” becomes less of a barrier to consumer adoption.

      • Dylan

        See comment above

      • hfoster52

        They spent millions on a buying an OS manufacture (QNX) just so they could say that they have an OS (Linux/Unix/Realtime) that would work on small devices and future devices. They poured millions more in developing a UI framework for this OS just so they could be keep up as an Android(Google)/IOS competitor meanwhile windows swoops in. So its hard for a company to just throw it all away and say they made a huge mistake. Its just easier to add in vm support for apk’s and have instant access to all their competitors applications.

        • charlie2010

          Now you get the best of both worlds, secure enterprise communication and productivity apps along with all those lame apps typical metrosexual dorks in their 20ies play with.

        • michael arazan

          Wonder why they don’t try and make a BB Launcher for Android to test the waters?

      • Anthony

        You people don’t have a clue about QNX. ‘Nuf said.

    • Dylan

      The only manufacturer making money on selling Android phones right now is Samsung. HTC, Motorolla etc run at a loss. BBRY at least has a differentiator in so far as their OS is the most secure in the world. They can’t compete in the consumer space anymore and are now a enterprise focused software business, but their is no money to be made in selling Android phones anymore. Only Google and Samsung profit from that game

      • Patrick Crumpler

        And it doesn’t look like BB is in any position to make wearables either. That is the next big area. Phones will be passé in a few years.

        • Dylan

          Ya maybe but I don’t think they need to do hardware at all. Maybe the software for that hardware. For the foreseeable future, only developing nations are going to profit at making hardware. I also don’t see wearable tech taking off until humans can adapt to the change. Tech is going to outpace our ability to adopt it.

  • Tomek G

    Somebody should see if google Maps, and hangouts would work. If gVoice integrates nicely, then I may as well get myself a blackberry

    Now if one could install Play store or Amazon Market

    • kels

      Maps works, no go for G voice and amazon market works

      • Dylan

        You can install Snap which is the BBRY app that allows you to access the Google play store. Or you can install the amazon store app which has android apps that are vetted for malware and viruses etc.

    • G.I.GIO

      How to get Android apps on BlackBerry from the Amazon Appstore in 3 quick steps:

      1- Download and install the Amazon Appstore: Open browser and go to http://www.amazon.com/getappstore and tap “Download Amazon Appstore”

      2- Run and log in to the Amazon Appstore.

      3- Download and install Android apps.

      That’s it!