Blackberry Ltd. (formerly Research In Motion) recently launched Blackberry OS 10. It is the latest and greatest iteration of the legendary smartphone platform and brings to the table features that are sure to excite consumer and enterprise customers as well as win back some of the market share it lost with the advent of the iPhone.
One such feature is the ability to run Android applications. Presently, it can run any application that runs on Android Gingerbread. However, the next version of the Blackberry 10 platform promise to have compatibility with anything that runs on Android 4.2 Jellybean.
It’s not as complicated as it sounds, either. All you need to get started is Google Chrome and ten minutes of your time.
Get Your App
Before you side load your device with your favorite Android app, there are a few things you need to know. Firstly, you won’t be able to just drag-and-drop an APK file to your device. Unless your app has been converted to Blackberry’s ‘.BAR’ file format, you will almost certainly will have to convert it.
Unfortunately, Converting an app can be quite tricky, with the methodology of how you go about doing it varying wildly from platform to platform. Furthermore, there’s no guarantee that your converted application will work.
Fortunately, the good folks at Crackberry.com have done a lot of the hard work for you and converted a great number of popular Android applications, tested them and made them available for download.
The range of apps on offer are significant and include the popular Opera Mini and Dolphin web browsers, as well as Google Maps, Tumblr and Instagram.
As I’m sure you’ve guessed, there’s a possibility to install pirated apps on your Blackberry device. However, it’s worth noting that every piece of software available to download from Crackberry is also available for free from the Android store.
Once you’ve selected the packages you want to install and downloaded them to your computer, you can move onto the next step.
Enable Development Mode
Development Mode on Blackberry 10 allows you – the user – to bypass Blackberry App World and remotely install, remove and launch applications. It goes without saying that this feature is turned off by default for security reasons. Side-loading Android applications to your Blackberry requires that this feature is turned on. To do this, open ‘settings’, navigate to ‘Security and Privacy’ and open up ‘Development Mode’.
From here, turn on ‘Use Development Mode’. If you haven’t already done so, you will be prompted to set up a password for your device. Make sure that you choose something memorable, as you’ll have to use it to log into your phone from now on.
You’re almost ready to move onto the next step, but first you should make sure that you are connected to a Wifi network. Failure to do so will mean that you will be unable to complete the following steps.
Install ‘PlayBook App Manager’
PlayBook App Manager is an extension for Google Chrome that allows you to install software remotely onto your Blackberry devices. Don’t be deceived by the name, it’s not just for Playbook tablets. Indeed, it supports all devices that run the latest Blackbery 10 operating system.
Once installed, you’ll see a Blackberry icon next to your address bar. Pressing this bring you to the landing page for the Playbook App Manager. Here, you need to add the IP address of your device. Make sure that you’re not adding the development IP you saw when you activated development mode, but rather the one you see in ‘System > About > Network’.
At the bottom of the page, you’ll see the IP address you typed in. Proceed onwards, ignoring the SSL error. Generally, SSL errors are a cause for concern. However the error you are seeing is a product of connecting to a device that insists on encrypting all traffic between your computer and the device, but doesn’t have an SSL certificate that has been vouched for by a certificate authority. Whilst you should generally be concerned about SSL errors, as they suggest serious security problems with the site you are trying to access, in this instance it’s totally normal. Press ‘okay’ and continue onwards.
Once you have bypassed the SSL error, insert the password to your mobile device. You’re almost ready to start installing Android apps on your Blackberry phone.
Installing Android Apps
So far, we’ve downloaded the application that we intend to install, ensured that it is of the appropriate filetype, put our phone into developer mode and installed Playbook App Manager. By now, you should be looking at this screen.
The next and final step is to install your chosen app to your device. To do that you need to drag and drop the ‘.bar’ file into the window which contains Playbook App Manager. Upon which, it should start installing itself to your device.
You can also track the progress of the installation from within your browser.
Once it has finished installing, open up your device. You should see it in the app menu, as well as within the Playbook App Manager window.
It remains to be seen if people will be willing to buy into the Blackberry 10 platform on the basis of being able to run Android apps. Whilst the process of installing an Android app on your Blackberry device can be a bit long winded, it’s not exactly a difficult process and there is a wealth of applications that have been converted for the Blackberry platform.
What about you? Is there an app you’d never be able to part with? Would you switch to Blackberry 10 if it was available? Let me know in the comments.
Image Credits: The blackberry Via Shutterstock