It’s now possible to run Android 4.2.2 on the BlackBerry Z10, sort of

by: Andrew GrushJanuary 29, 2014

blackberry z10 back aa

An update for Blackberry’s not-so-popular BB10 has started rolling out, and with the update to 10.2.1 comes the ability to easily run Android apps. Although BB10 has been able to run Android apps for a while now, previously .APK files first had to be converted to the .BAR format before they would run. With the latest update, .APK files can now be installed directly onto Blackberry devices.

As Blackberry continues to struggle, giving existing BB10 users the option to sideload or even install Android apps directly from their browser is a good way to keep these folks at least semi-satisfied. What’s even more interesting is that in order to fully run Android apps, Blackberry is essentially running the Android OS inside of their QNX-based OS. In fact, it’s actually possible to get a full Android UI by simply installing and launching Nova Launcher.

The video below shows that the Android installation running within BB10 is actually a slimmed down version of Android 4.2.2. By slimmed down, we mean that quite a few of vanilla Android’s components have been removed such as the Phone dialer and many other ‘core’ Android apps and services. Obviously Google Play services is not installed, though the video’s creator tomtechish did attempt to run the Google Play store by sideloading, but unfortunately it just crashes.

The fact that Blackberry now runs a slimmed down version of Android probably isn’t enough to make anyone want to jump over to the dying platform, but it’s still pretty interesting news.

Both the release of APK support and the fact that Android lies underneath BB10 further cements the fact that Blackberry really is dead-in-the-water at this point and is relying heavily on Android not only to bring it business through Blackbery Messenger, but even to help augment the BB10 experience.

If Blackberry eventually ditched BB10 altogether, or perhaps did a true dual-boot with Google Play apps certification, would you be at all interested in Blackberry devices or has that ship sailed for good? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

  • Maharaja

    The devices are pretty so if they ran Android they would definetely be an option. Specially if it was stock(ish) android.

  • Frankie Frankel

    i am already interested i love bb10 its so fluid and it works like a dream and the keyboard is the best i have ever used but the only thing holding me back was the lack of apps but now u can sideload plain apks so if i stay on verizon and not switch to tmobile i will be buying a bb z30

    • Jamie Young

      You no longer need to side load, you just download Amazon App Store and download the apps directly to your phone.

      • Frankie Frankel

        I know that’s what I’m excited about

        • TheDark

          or you can get Snap and pull directly from
          Google play. and snap is a native BB10 app. ;)

          • Dunioo Furt

            How to get this app

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

    BlackBerry should’ve just dropped BB OS and jump to Android. BOOM – 100% profit increase, just keep all the original stuff like apps and gestures and there you have it, plus with AOSP skin it would run really fast

    • BB

      I find this hilarious when people say BlackBerry should drop QNX and go Android… Android is currently the most vulnerable OS in the market… The numbers talk for themselves…

      Just for the facts, the Pentagon recently announced they where opting for BB10, Obama’s office runs on Blackberry, most government agencies runs on Blackberry !!! So that is a huge vow of confidence !!!! Android has not been selected !!! So is Android so secure ???

      The app gap is closing fast, BB 10 is only one year old and it has evolved quite a bit in a year. So maybe people will start to realize that BlackBerry devices are here to stay and people will stop bashing them… Take the time try one out and get nitty-gritty in the details of what it can really do and you will quickly notice that it can quick an Android and iOS phone !!!! Here is a perfect example…

      Si before bashing BB, might be a good idea to do proper homework !!!

      • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

        Are you for real?

        • BB

          Ho yeah… for real for sure !!!

        • ed


          Let’s replace a secure and stable, fast and slick OS with another maleware ridden and completely exposed OS. Profit wouldnt increase one cent, it would mean bankruptcy as blackberry no longer have anything to do with security. Face it when discussion security android is bottle of the barrel.

          The post author has clearly done no homework. The phone has never run a stripped down version of android nor will it ever. It has some selected services added to the core library to allow android apps to run beside blackberry apps – but in a massively over protected bubble to prevent all those security holes from exposing blackberry side systems

          Most of the post is intended to inflame bbry users and very poorly researched. Nothing new or interesting in the articld

          • ichuck7

            I bet you don’t have sex either because sex causes stds.

      • shogun

        Omg, I can give you funniest comment I read in a long time

  • Groud Frank

    Hmmmmmmmmm… This is a bit far fetched but maybe a Google acquisition of BB is near. That QNX kernel, BB patents and talented Java coders would go a long way.

  • Jason Yuen

    Disturbingly, I can see Nintendo having the same fate as RIM. Inability or unwilling to adapt to changing technology could kill even the biggest tech giants. As a Canadian, it pains me to see this company doing too little too late. They used to be a shining beacon of mobile technology. Now it’s just a polar bear struggling to stay afloat on an ice cube.

  • Jamie Young

    I have the Z30 and it’s a great phone. Read the reviews on any Canadian Carrier website, it’s the top rated phone. Now that it can easily run Android apps the appeal of this platform will be much greater. I finally got the only app that I was missing and that was Netflix. The BB 10 OS is brand new and feature rich. It’s the best OS on the market today, the only thing lacking was the apps. Now the App gap has shrunk big time thanks to third party sites like Amazon App Store.

  • wezi427

    I would buy one.

    • Whatever

      BB 10 is the best OS… Simple and Secured… No NSA over your shoulders.

  • Jose Torres

    There is still a lot of potential for Blackberry if they switched to Android. They could leave the OS with no skin and only install their business oriented apps while integrating their gesture features. Of course include 64 bit quad core, a 5 inch 1080p screen, 2 gb of RAM as well as removable micro-sd card compatibility and you’ll have at least one customer!

    • ichuck7

      I would hope they would keep their multitasking swipe gestures. Then they would make a really compelling case to get android.

  • brian

    I love my Q10 the ability to run Android apps is a bonus. By the way android apps contain the most malware of any mobile os 99 % malware on most android devices a report by Cisco jan 24 2014

    • A googler

      Hmm is that cow?

      • Jayfeather787

        I think it is.

      • ed

        No its a moose

    • ichuck7

      I’m guessing you don’t have sex either because sex causes stds.

  • Nathan

    Google play on this and I would buy it

  • Jayfeather787

    Cool! Android is spreading to other devices of other brands!! Now make it run on an Apple device!!!!

  • Whatever

    I use Android every single day on Galaxy S 3, Galaxy Tab 2 and I just have realized what a mess Android is. The is no logic in how the OS works. My main phone is a BB Z10 and I have true multitasking… Swipe Up = Home or Tasks Screen, Swipe Up + Right = Hub… So easy even a turtle can learn it… I am a BB user…

    • ishaa

      can we run snapchat and instagram on bb10?

      • Rjas

        Yes you can run instagram and it works perfectly.

        • vicky

          whr I can get that app…? BlackBerry World or any other android market?

  • Whatever

    To the person talking in the video… Google Services are not installed in BB that’s why nothing you’re trying is working… This is all about having access to the most popular apps… Pandora, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, Kik, eBay, Tango, Pinterest, Spotify, Amazon, SoundCloud, Glide, Viber, Tumblr, Line, Hulu Plus and so on… Try installing these apps… and you’ll see the power of Android on BB 10.

    • Ichbin EsNicht

      Absolutely right, bring Google Play into the OS!

  • chunkz

    BB10 is awesome, why would I need UI of android.

  • Arturo Raygoza

    I’m sorry but the ship has long sailed away

  • Razorr

    So far, this is the worst post of AA. I mean, you dont have to be so harsh with your words. I use BlackBerry Z10 and Nexus 5. And at some point, BlackBerry has advantages over the nexus. The keyboard, the browser, multitasking, the hub etc. I guess you barely know a thing about BlackBerry. Just sayin’.

  • zocster

    This just shows the lack of your knowledge on BB10, I have both BB10 and KitKat. The fact that non rooted Android is required for my merchant services to run, is the only reason I am still on Android. Otherwise it will be BB10 all the way.

  • hermes

    BlackBerry 10 touch response is horrible? As stated in the youtube video. Ya any touchscreen response would suck the way the presenter does it,, like a mteth, crack addict swiping through his phone looking for his dealers contact info cause he’s fiending. He’s all twitchy.

  • watch

    Wait until BlackBerry gets the devs…. lets see where android goes.

    Your platform is still lagging with high end hardwares. Not enough juice through the day.
    You can only save battery if you’re turning off some of the system features. You have malwares and spy wares, lots of ads.
    You can make it smooth but requires time and knowledge.

    Your os is old enough but still lagging. You’re lucky BlackBerry 10 came late.

    Most of all, you’re getting affected by BlackBerry slowly waking up.

    • ichuck7

      I can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic. I’m sure Google is shaking in their boots.

  • piratesmvp04

    I really like the hardware design of the Z10. If they released a dual-boot version that ran Android, I would strongly consider purchasing it. Honestly, I think they should be seriously considering ditching the BB OS and starting using Android. They could create their own customized Blackberry UI just like Samsung and HTC are doing with Touchwiz and Sense. If they then made the services like Blackberry Messenger exclusive to the Blackberry Android phones (like Nokia used to do with their Maps and Music apps on Windows Phone), I think this would really help them get back to the top.

  • Jacob Chacko

    I used BB Z10 and Galaxy S4 and iPhone. To be honest, I like BB 10 times more than S4. Ease of use and the menu in BB is much simpler than all the android forest, I need to traverse. I liked Samsung phones and operating system before Samsung opted to live Android. They lost the face in the crowd. If I have to select today, I will easily go with iPhone or BB. Only pain with Z10 is the battery drainage. I really really hope BB does not start using Android and become another phone without a face. Nokia should become an example for them in running behind the trend. Even RIM can look into the Playbook days for reminding them this.

    BB still has the corporate advantage over any other phone in the market and should identify options to keep these market amused. If they are happy RIM will not have to sell out instead can carve out a niche in the changed mobile market.

  • kd12

    I believe, most of the geeks know how to make things work in tech. Snap works like charm for loading android apps. It is “The” best phone I ever had. I have 3-4 apple products but dont have an iphone and I dont regret that. In todays world, smartphone doesnt mean doing so many things, installing so many apps for small small things, instead how the software adopts to your needs and should learn your behavior. BB10 has so many hidden features, if you find them you will realize the potential of the OS. Except the app store, iphone is not even close to BB10(UI, smartness, intuitiveness ). It took me while to adopt with new OS, probably adopting/learning new OS is refraining people from getting BB10. I love BB10. Thanks BlackBerry.

  • CheckMate

    Can someone help me find answer to this question. While trying to install the android app on BB10 via amazon, why it displays name of an developer and from where it picks it up ? I checked the amazon appstore account and no where that name is mentioned. I see this for all apps.

  • ElTeepee

    Yes, if I can run android apps on a BB Z10 I’ll get one, it has an awesome spec for the price :)

  • Abu Izz

    Absolutely love BB10 on my z10. I have an iphone and NOte 2 also but nothing tops the z10…especially now that I can use android apps directly just by installing the 1mobile market store. Fabulous work Blackberry!

  • George

    I have just bought the Z10 and after a week of using it i can say the following.
    The blackberry OS 10 is by far best than android and the UI experience is pleasant and fast.
    also came with installed 10.2, so i could easily load some android
    apps that couldn’t run on blackberry like the one that tells me how my
    talk time is left from my telephony provider.

    Blackberry Z10 and i
    suppose Z30 show the future because they are not stuck anymore on their
    os but the can give the users the Blackberry OS experience without the
    loss of thousands of android apps.

    Blackberry is not dead.
    It starts the comeback now.

  • sagguy

    I love my Z10 and would love for BlackBerry to ditch theirs and go to true Android. I love the full swipe, feel and size. Just didn’t know what I was getting into when I got it ( BB10 ) that it wasn’t a true Android. Not having a Blackberry before.

  • Mind Games

    I have the Z 10 and it’s truly an awesome phone! I had Android phones and to tell the truth I prefer the Z 10. Because it has given me no problems compared to my Motorola Photon Q and or my EVO 3D it’s a dream.
    Long battery life and keyboard response times are a dream come true.
    I have an Android on order for my toy beagle that’s about all they are good for games and BS but for my business it’s Z 10 baby! Z 10!!!

  • Justin

    The biggest plus of this is for us poor corporate suckers, whose workplaces still haven’t worked out how to allow BYOD options such as iPhone and Android. My workplace uses Blackberry Enterprise Server for our Notes/Domino corporate email (I know, I know), and as such we are still given only Blackberry devices to choose from if we want to keep on top of our inboxes on the road. I’ve started carrying a Nexus 5 as a wifi-only second device just to have my favourite apps at hand. The ability to load Android apps on the z30 means my pants pocket will now be 150 grams lighter.

  • Ichbin EsNicht

    BB is another Kodak story. I was excited when the BB10 came out. After a few uses, I realized that the basic apps like call & SMS blocker were not available like on the previous BB OS. I like the hardware but the BB10 OS is terrible and awkward. I hope to install Cyanomod soon on it and then I will use it again.

  • krzysiek100

    gmail app ?

  • Matt Newman

    Here’s an idea: Ditch BB10 altogether and make an Android skin like HTC Sense with Play Store

  • jack sparrow

    Hey guys love 2 c u ol if ua using BlackBerry z10 on version 10.2.1 updated thn if u want 2 download android games nd apps thn u myst download 1 mobile software by

  • karthik reddy

    wis i could use a blackberry with android lollipop…:)

  • Joel Webb

    I in no way think that BlackBerry is a dying company, or not effective in the cell market. They’re new phones are intuitive and fantastic. And the latest updates to the OS are fantastic. Sure, BlackBerry has a long road ahead, but they are in no way dead, outdated, or antiquated. Their popularity is growing, and people are now starting to take a second look at them again. As a Canadian I am proud to be a BlackBerry user and supported, and look forward to their bright future ahead.

  • brendanhohoho

    The Blackberry Z10 is a great phone. It looks good, feels good, and the OS is definitely great. The camera is very good and the overall feel of this phone is one I’m proud to use. However it needs serious app support if it is going to survive.

  • templR

    RIM waited too long……. just one app ‘Whatsapp’ killed BB.

  • TRiPoLYT

    If only I could have Lollipop including the “BB10 Hub” on my Q10, that would be the perfect phone.

  • dave

    is this for real z10 can be an android os 4.2?

  • dave

    is this for real z10 can be an android os 4.2?

  • Sue Coleman

    My biggest problem is not finding a credit card reader that supports BB. The square needs Google play.