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BlackBerry increases Android app support

blackberry_androidBlackBerry hopes to make it easier for Android applications to run on its latest smartphones.

A recent upgrade to its developer tools has attempted to reduce the amount of work required to get an Android app working on the BlackBerry 10 operating system, and changes coming in early 2014 will allow some Android apps to run directly without any changes.

BlackBerry 10 is based on a real-time operating system called QNX but has had a level of compatibility with Android since it was launched earlier this year. A “runtime” on the phones provides an environment in which Android apps can run, but not all Android features are supported.

The latest version, 10.2.1, was introduced in early November and added support for Android Jellybean 4.2.2, Bluetooth, maps through Open Street Map, sharing of content with other applications in the phone, and the spell checker.

As long as the Android features that a given app needs are supported in BlackBerry’s Android runtime, the app needs minimal repackaging to run on BlackBerry smartphones.

Early next year, BlackBerry will push a software update to users that will bring the ability to directly run “.apk” Android packages on phones, with no repackaging, as long as features required by the apps are supported. That should make it easier for companies to offer Android applications to BlackBerry users.

BlackBerry has attracted 130,000 apps to its BlackBerry 10 platform, but the company’s new phones haven’t managed to grab the attention of many users.

BlackBerry had a 2.8 percent share of the global smartphone market in the third quarter of 2013, according to data from IDC. That puts it behind Windows Mobile at 3.1 percent, Apple’s iOS at 16.6 percent and Android at 69.2 percent.

 

Originally published on IDG News Service (San Francisco Bureau). Reprinted with permission from IDG.net. Story copyright 2017 International Data Group. All rights reserved.
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