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.