Install some Android Apps on BlackBerry OS 10 devices without Developer Mode

You can now install some Android Apps on BlackBerry OS 10 devices after installing the Amazon App Store or using another method if the app you want isn’t in this app store.  Not sure if this works for Playbook but apparently does for other BB OS 10 devices.  I only tested on a BB Z30.

RIM has entered an agreement with Amazon to allow BB OS 10 devices to install the Amazon App store and install Andriod Apps.

In the past you had to side-load Android apps which required enabling Developer mode which can be disabled by BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) administrators.

There was some talk about the Google Play App Store being installable on BB10 but this does not appear to be the case.  It has more apps than the Amazon App Store but this is still better than just the BB World App store.

The Amazon App Store app isn’t listed in BB World but you can download and install it here.  You will need to enable installing apps from other sources to install this app and any apps from this store.

I had an issue with not being able to sign in properly to the Amazon app store without a default shipping address  set on my Amazon ID and had to login to the full Amazon site (not mobile site) to set this 1st.

If needed here is another way to load Android apps on a BB OS 10 device without needing to enable Developer mode and side-loading.

If the app you want to install isn’t available as a native BB OS 10 compatible app, is not in the Amazon App store there is another option.

It requires getting the .apk file for the app.  Be wary of downloading .apk files from unknown websites / un trusted sources as they may be infected with malware.

If you want to get the app from the Google play store or any other reputable Android App store you will need temporary access to an Android phone or need to run an Android Emulator on a computer.  Once you download and install the app you can extract the .apk file using the “APK Extractor” or similar Android app. This will save the .apk file so you can email it to the BB you want to install it on or file transfer it via USB cable or WiFi to a computer and then to your BB. Then open and install.

This native Android App / apk install support requires BB OS or higher. The “Enable apps from other sources” option can disabled by BES but it wasn’t on my phone when I tried.

This method is not as nice as installing directly from an App store or website but gets the job done.

I wanted the Shaw Gateway App for controlling my Shaw Gateway PVR remotely but this app is currently only available for IOS & Android 😦 and I was tired of having to use an older iPod Touch with just WiFi to run the app. This app installed and works fine on a BB Z30 using this method. Not sure how well it would work on other BB OS 10 devices with smaller screens as it was initially designed for and only available for Android Tablets. I downloaded the app from the Google Play store using an Android phone, extracted the .apk as per above. Then it it is possible to email the .apk file directly from the Android to the BB which would be the easier transfer method. I didn’t think of this at the time so transferred the .apk file to a Win 8.1 PC using a USB cable and default sync mode on this Android (won’t see any folders other than Camera pics if in charge only mode). I believe the drivers for browsing the Android device were native with Win 8.1 but can’t recall if I had installed drivers the 1st time I connected this Android. Then I transferred the .apk file to the BB via BlackBerry Link software and USB cable but apparently there is support for WiFi file transfer.

My 1st attempt to get the .apk was using an open source Android emulator (Virtual Machine). A while ago I briefly tried the official Android developer emulator and the Google play stored worked but was difficult to navigate using tab, shift tab and space since I didn’t have a touch screen and no native mouse support. This time I gave a quick try with Andy which has integrated options for transferring apps in and out of the emulator but it had the same problems with no native mouse support. It sounds like there is trackball and Dpad support and shortcut keys to navigate without mouse but I didn’t try to enable any of these (more info here and …) as the above method from an Android was easier and worked.

I ran these emulators in their default virtualization software initially (can’t recall what the developer emulator used but Andy uses Oracle Virtual Box by default) but when there was no mouse support by default I tried converting them in VMware Player or VMware Workstation and they ran but still no go with mouse. Once again it sounds like this is something that has to be enabled in the emulator and or Android OS.

Hope this is usefully to you.

About Kevin Yaworski

I use my blog to write about things that I think are a matter of public interest or that I think others will be interested in
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