Over the weekend a rumor surfaced claiming that Blackberry’s waning platform could potentially be getting a big win in its next app update: Google Play support.
The rumor was sparked by a series of alleged images showing the Play Store running on a BlackBerry 10-powered handset. This led some folks to believe Google and Blackberry might have struck up some kind of special deal to bring official Play support to BB10.
Immediately, many of us in the Android camp wondered why Google would extend support to a non-Android platform. It’s easy to see how such an arrangement could help Blackberry, but how exactly would this help Google? As it turns out, the rumor might be nothing more than wild speculation.
To learn more about Blackberry’s plans, CrackBerry reached out for an official response in regards to the rumored Play support. Unfortunately for BB10 fans looking for more apps, Blackberry was pretty quick to shoot down the idea.
“There is no planned support for Google Play on BlackBerry. BlackBerry World remains the primary source for trusted and curated BlackBerry applications and we continue to support open standards and open source tools so BlackBerry developers can continue to create great apps on any of the development platforms we support.”
Although it’s pretty likely that direct Google Play support will not be making its way to BB10, a leaked version of the upcoming Blackberry 10.2.1.1055 update makes it clear to that something big and Android-y is coming.
Rumors never die and a denial statement only means so much. After all, LG once denied plans for the Nexus 5, and we all know how that turned out.
Among the features found on the leaked update is the ability to install APK files directly on a BB10 device without first converting them to the “BAR format”. For those that don’t know, previously installing an Android app on Blackberry 10 required you to go through a few hoops, which included file conversion.
It’s no direct Play Store support, by APK support is still a BIG deal for Blackberry fans. Not only does it make it easier to sideload Android apps, it could also mean that Blackberry World (BB10’s store) could be seeing an APK section, or third party stores like Amazon App Store could even end up easily installed on BB10 hardware.
In other words, this opens a door for deeper Android app support and integration with the Blackberry platform.
It’s obvious that Blackberry is a sinking ship and needs something to keep its loyal fanbase from ditching the OS altogether. Better Android app support could certainly be a much needed lifeboat for Blackberry.
What do you think, could improved Android app support help Blackberry at the very least keep its remaining fans from turning away? Conversely, do you think that Blackberry should just give up and completely migrate over to Android?