John Galea's Blog

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Converting APKs to BARs

Blackberry are working on being able to support running Android aps on the playbook. They have what is called an Android player that emulates the APIs that a program needs to run under Android. Like any emulator they are never 100% compatible. The current beta (which is open to anyone that wants to run it) can run Android aps. But the Android aps are not listed on Blackberry’s App world (yet) and there is no Google marketplace. So you need to figure out where to get the apps from. As a heads up, if you are running the beta it does not update. You need to keep an eye on when updates are released and manually update to stay current on the latest fixes.

Converting an Android apps to run on a playbook is a two step process. First you need to repackage them from an APK to a BAR. Then they need to be signed. If you can find a BAR file ready to load your one step ahead. Of course personally I wonder how old the APK is, and did anything bad get added to it by the person who packaged it. So I preferred to do it myself.

I found a document on how to convert APKs to BARs

I also found a spreadsheet containing a list of APKs that have been converted to BARs along with with a status of whether they run or not. You will notice the websites the BARs are on are largely WAREZ sites so that always makes me nervous.

So since I have a process for how to convert an APK to a BAR I need the APKs. Fortunately I have a rooted phone this is dead easy. Using the android developer kit you can grab any installed APKs from an android phone using adb pull. The apps are generally stored in /data/app.

Here’s a list of what worked and didn’t for me that I converted:

Worked ebuddy 1.83, TorrentFU, Jewels by MHGames, ebay, EStrong File Explorer 1.6.0.7, ANDFtp

Failed Amazon Kindle hangs on boot, another one loaded but wouldn’t log on (odd cause I know folks that have this running, Sudoku Daily Free crashes, Go Mobile from Ryerson crashes, Flixster Force Close, Shazam loads but can not record the music to identify.

So unfortunately my luck was not good. But none the less it cane be done and shows us where they are heading and it looks good once in place. The big question is will Android developers bother. Guess we will have to wait and see!

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December 22, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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