John Galea's Blog

My blog on Gadgets and the like

Android compatibility on BlackBerry 10, a deep dive

What better thing to do on a dull dreary rainy fall morning than play with my gadgets! This blog post is about running Android Apps on BlackBerry 10. I’m on a Z10.

Apps make or break the device. When I first bought the Z10 I was on an Android S3. I love the app rich environment. Sadly BlackBerry have not got quite the same following as Android or the app king IOS. Android Apps since BlackBerry 10 was released have the ability to resign their apps and submit them to AppWorld. Some have, some have not. So it became make or break for me to stay with a Z10 to find alternatives. And alternatives I did indeed find. I still have an Android tablet so I can get my hands on the Android install files called APKs using a tool called File Expert. This does not require root. Once you have the APK you can resign the app yourself to be installed on your BlackBerry on one of three web sites. Mobile 24, GoodEReader, or Apk2Bar. I found no difference in functioanlity between any of these. If an app does not work from one of them it does not work for all of them. Sometimes the conversion process would hang on one web site and work on the other. Once converted you have the BlackBerry installer called a BAR. It is possible to find BARs on the net already converted for you, but I am concerned about if a virus might be inserted into it, so do it myself.

There is also a process for self signing the APK to a BAR but to date I haven’t been able to get that working.

I found two processes to install the BAR file onto your BlackBerry using your PC. I have not found a way to do it without a PC. One is called DDPB and the other is a Chrome Extension. I found no difference between these two processes. If it failed on one, it failed on the other.

I had originally heard that compatibility was a whole lot better on 10.2 Vs 10.2. I haven’t found that at all. For me it has been almost identical. Nothing stopped working on 10.2 that worked on 10.1 (so at least there is that) and 1 app that didn’t work now does.

Recently the unlocked Android runtime hit the net which is rumoured to fix a number of issues with Android apps.

So how is compatibility? First off the numbers then the details if you care:
I tried 51 apps. Of those 32 worked in 10.1, and 1 worked only once upgraded to 10.2. 6 apps that previously broke now work with the Unlocked Runtime installed from the link above. 5 Apps failed to side load. 7 apps are non-functional. So that means 39 of 51 apps work with 10.2 and the unlocked Android runtime or 76%!

Here are the details:
Working 32

Working on 10.2 didn’t on 10.1

Unlocked Android fixed the issue 6

Side loading errors: 5
opl.textc_v2.9.11c.85 transit

Not functional 7 (Starts and then dies says it can’t get to the net to phone home) (Starts and then crashes) (Works but can’t get the cell tower location so is mostly useless) (Dies with a licensing error) (starts and then hangs) (starts but can’t get past the initial language screen) (starts but does not play well)


November 2, 2013 - Posted by | Android, Blackberry 10

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