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Android Apps Coming to a BlackBerry Near You

By Kulvinder Gill | Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

It’s true, the Canadian smartphone maker BlackBerry is preparing to launch a new firmware upgrade to its BB10 OS smartphone, including the Q5, Q10, Z10 and Z30 phones, that will allow Android apps to become available to its users via the BlackBerry World portal. 

There is no question the BlackBerry handsets have been struggling because of a significant “app gap.” Consumers have come to expect unimaginable numbers of apps at their fingertips, which can easily be found on iOS and Android.

In the past, BlackBerry only accepted apps created using their own proprietary format. The 10.2.1 upgrade to its BlackBerry operating system will support Android apps.

The company has been approaching big games and apps firm developers to upload their Android apps to a new section on its online app store, BlackBerry World. Developers will only need to submit screenshots and descriptions to have their software listed in the BlackBerry World, which means almost no effort from them. Users, on the other hand, will be able to download and install the apps just as they would any content built for their smartphones.

What are the new improvements to the BlackBerry 0S 10.21 upgrade?

The upcoming BB OS 10.2.1 update is set to bring in new features. The new update is expected to add a new section to BlackBerry World where all Android applications will be listed. The Android runtime is also expected to be upgraded, meaning that users will be able to run newer apps.

The new improvements will now include:

  • Android Native Support: Android apps that use shared libraries written in native-code, such as C and C++, will now be supported on BlackBerry 10. Support is limited to the recommended system headers and APIs as documented by Google. Headers and APIs outside this scope may not function correctly.

  • Bluetooth: Android applications using Android Bluetooth APIs will now work on BlackBerry 10. Bluetooth Low Energy for Android is planned to be supported in a future OS release. As a reminder, Bluetooth LE is supported in the BlackBerry 10 Native/Cascades SDK.

  • MapView v1: Applications that use MapView from Google Maps v1 API are now supported using OpenStreetMaps. Support for MapView v2 API is being planned for a future release.

  • Share Framework: Android applications that register with the share framework in Android will now also appear as share targets on the BlackBerry 10 share menu.

  • Spellcheck: Applications that use text input can now leverage support for spell checking and correction, and the ability to add words to the BlackBerry 10 dictionary.

No date has been confirmed for when BlackBerry is expected to release the OS 10.2.1 update.

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