Last Updated: June 16th, 2013

We know Blackberry isn't the most popular name around here, but it is a name that continues to pop up at some interesting times. Developers, in particular, may remember when the company - then known as RIM - launched Playbook OS 2.0 with the ability to run specially packaged apps developed for Android 2.3.3. Since that time, events and promotions have been run to encourage developers to bring their apps to the platform, but the aging requirement to target Gingerbread has become a burden. Despite rumors that the runtime would eventually be updated to support apps targeting Ice Cream Sandwich, there has been a growing belief that the Android runtime would be phased out, favoring applications written in C++, HTML 5, or Adobe AIR. As it turns out, the rumors were wrong, but only because support will now reach much further than previously expected. Today, Blackberry announced that version 10.2 of the OS will ship with support for Android 4.2.2.


The leap from Gingerbread 2.3.3 (API Level 10) to Jelly Bean 4.2.2 (API Level 17) is obviously a huge upgrade which includes many new features like Fragments (and the new Nested Fragments), hardware acceleration, massively expanded animation capabilities, new controls and layout types, App Stack Navigation, and SO...MUCH...MORE. This is almost 2 years of Android evolution in a long overdue step. Unfortunately, there are still a few platform limitations, such as the lack of widgets, notifications as we know them (there is a custom alternative), and access to some hardware features.

Apps must still be converted to run on Blackberry's OS. For developers familiar with the process, not much has changed. New versions of the Eclipse plugin and SDK are available from the developer portal, along with 10.2 beta firmware for Dev Alpha B, Dev Alpha C, Z10, and Q10 devices. Unfortunately, simulator images are not yet available, but they should arrive later in the summer.

All things considered, it is a very smart move for Blackberry to keep the Android runtime reasonably up to date. BB 10 market share is still very low, but the user base is hungry for quality apps. Naturally, developers don't want to risk time and resources on a platform that may fail or simply doesn't have enough customers to justify the expense of new development. Thanks to this compatibility layer, relatively little time or trouble is necessary to expand to a slightly larger audience with money to burn. The Android ecosystem also benefits, as this only adds to the list of devices that can take advantage of the latest APIs. So, good on Blackberry for updating to the latest Android runtime, let's hope this is a sign of a renewed commitment.

Source: [Blackberry Developer Blog]

Cody Toombs
Cody is a Software Engineer and Writer with a mildly overwhelming obsession with smartphones and the mobile world. If he’s been pulled away from the computer for any length of time, you might find him talking about cocktails and movies, sometimes resulting in the consumption of both.

  • Guest

    I hope this leads to BB using Android OS with it's BB layer, apps, etc. That would be a nice option, they have good phones and some nice software features, but they are not comparable with Android. I can see BB having success with Android layered (Google Editions would be nice) versions, I may even buy one (Z10 has a great quality, this and HTC One could become a standard).

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

      For one, I have a Z10 right in front of me. David and I talked about quite a few things before his review, and one thing we conclusively agreed on is that the body is horribly cheap plastic. If I were going purely on material quality, it's absolutely the lowest quality phone I've had, ever. Admittedly, I've never had an early Samsung phone, but this is sorta equivalent to an Epic 4g or something like that.

      Second, Blackberry isn't just wading in with the BB10 on top of QNX. The company is banking everything on this platform, and that's really not going to change anytime in the near future. All of the engineering efforts of the last 5 (or so) years have gone into making this platform work. That's not to say that Blackberry won't expend plenty of effort into building software to run on Android; BBM is a sign of that. The only way I see a change in direction is if BB10 is just successful enough to keep the company floating for 3-4 years, at which point there will be no incentive to continue beating a dead horse.

      • An engineer

        The lowest quality phone? I got Galaxy's and whatever in my household. Your comment is nuts..

      • Bedammit

        The Z10 is a nice phone and I have had LOTS of phones.
        Its pretty sturdy. This is the FIRST BB I have ever liked.
        That says a lot.

        • saalnaz

          Its definitely a huge upgrade to that absolutely piece of junk BB7 and the hardware is ok until you use a phone like HTC one...the grip is good on the z10...
          Even their strong feature of bbm is being replaced by whatsapp and now google have their own gtalk and video...bbm will be released across platforms but maybe its too late...

          • GatzLoc

            They still have bes10 and qnx in most cars and posted a profit instead of the projected .30c loss. I get you don't like it, Idk if I had to use just the Z10 it would be ok but I put that roots evo case from crackberry on it and it just looks professional and stylish.

            Enough for me, it's a tool Idc about like metal body and all that if it doesn't fit my needs. I acutally installed a dev beta 10.2 os to get rid of native apps like compass etc. because I just never use them.

      • Pradeep Viswanathan R

        I was excited to see what z10 has to offer and checked out the display device. i do have to say that i never got feel of a good phone when i used it the first time... i don't mean its bad, it just did not give me the first impression well and that was definitely because of the build quality/material used.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

          For a make-or-break device (at least, that's how the media has spun it), I think Blackberry would have been wise to double down on design and materials. If the Z10 came out with an aluminum body and nicer lines, even at $50 more, the general perception and reviews would have been much better.

          • wardell

            Again sell while you have some money left,,unless you borrowed, ahhh in that case we all make mistakes.

          • Pradeep Viswanathan R

            Right, well agreed and compared to the the previous devices that they used to make i think Z10 is a big let down in this area,

          • saalnaz

            It was funny..prior to me knowing about HTC one..i saw some front pictures online of both z10 and One where people were comparing both phones and how similar they looked so i kinda agreed...then we decided to upgrade my wifes phone from that junk bb7 to a droid and went looking for a cheaper s3 or note 2 as the older phones had cost advantages against the newly anticipated s4 but oh my...when we saw HTc one it was game over...it was out pf stock but had to wait for 2 weeks to get it..then i recently got one for myself also...i hardly use my z10...but yes, the build could have helped the z10 a bit but its about the overall experience also...yes..bb10 has a nifty software and multitasking but is that enough?! Droids have the whole google catalogue of software sewn up which even ios dont have from gtalk to maps to google earth to plus etc... Then the apps...then the hardware technologies of Google OEMs which BB will never be able to compete against...so much against them...i just dont know what their long term strategy is because if its relying on corporate ..well..in corporate people are jumping ships at a rapid pace to other platforms..

      • saalnaz

        Yep..you got it right sir except for the quality perhaps...the galaxys also suffer from being low quality in temrs of build...htc one and iphones can boast of good quality builds nowadays...but to compete in OS game will be difficult especially when BB is still getting android apps on its platform...
        Competing and surviving against the likes of apple, android and their top oems behind them will be challenging...even windwns with nokia can take a small market share so lets hope the best for BBs...the competition is indeed fierce...

      • Giovanni64

        Interesting article overall and a good read.

        But you are a bit too severe regarding the build quality: "If I were going purely on material quality, it's absolutely the lowest quality phone I've had,"

        Lowest quality implies cheap and fragile, and the Z10 is neither. It has a stainless steel frame which is coated with some sort of rubberized material to absorb shock. If you mean it "looks cheap" then that's a personal opinion. I've read other reviews which criticize Samsung for using plastic (polycarbonate).

        The BB phone you are waiting for is the A10 which will be out in time for the holidays. It's supposed to be their premium flagship touch-phone so you can expect significant design improvements... and it will run BB10.2 or higher.

        It makes sense that BlackBerry chose not to launch the A10 first. They've allowed BB10 to mature by incremental updates since the Z10's launch. It's a brand new OS, so they had to work on a lot of issues, from battery life, to 2 way USB sync for Outlook users... just to name a few. It also gave them time to build up their app store from 70,000 in January to 120,000 (20% Android apps) today... by the holidays it should grow to almost 200,000. And with the ability to run Android 4.2.2 Jellybean, apps will no longer be a deal breaker for potential A10 customers.

        I think BlackBerry has a chance to grow enough market share to carve a niche large enough to be profitable, but this would not be a threat to Android because they own the market... Samsungs GS4 and HTC's One are selling very well, as are low cost Androids.

    • GatzLoc

      Sad part is z10 has a geekbench score of 2k on os 10.2

      Same as 2013 phones such as xperia z, and even slightly more than note 2.

      So, fuck Android.


      Btw, this is a dualcore 1.5ghz s4 pro vs the quad.

    • saalnaz

      I have both. I got my z10 through work in feb if im not mistaken. I liked it and i still do kinda but not much. 2 months ago i was looking for a phone for my wife so i stumbled across the HTC One...and my jaws dropped..i bought it shortly afterwards for my wife..i used it for a few weeks and een loved it more(my first droid experience ever)...so idecided to buy the one for myself and i bought it 2 weeks ago....i konw the new bb10 is nice...but HTC one is a level above it...i hardly use the z10 anymore...i use it for work calls...hardly use bbm anymore as whatsapp is the app for cross use...even hanging out (previously gtalk) is taking some space since it has video calls..its not only about the lack of apps on z10 its the whole hardware of top notch droids nowadays which are superior...look at HTC one...even samsung s4 struggles aganst the one in terms of overall experience..htc one is a beast...z10 and bb10 nowadays look dull against it...i have soft spot for BBs in general but i have been swayed by this droid although i never used one before due to the constant problems it had in the past of the UI being too cluttered and the lag issue but oh my...the ONe has none of those issues...beautifully designed phone with great screen, sound, size etc....just simply gorgeous...
      I hope BB survives but someone said they should dump their software and go after android which i dont agree...a move like they may help a copany like Nokia more than BB and they know it...BB is not a hardware company and they will get eaten alive for all 3 meals against top Droid OEMs...nokia however can make the move and survive as they have some great technologies still...bB is purely a system company and their OS is meant to compete aganst the like of android and ios...and wp also...so, im not sure how they will survive if they dnt upgrade their hardware features and attract native apps...

      • GatzLoc

        Thing is man, 2 months ago 10.1 came out and now 10.2

        Just speaking on geekbench the score on stock 10.0 was 1400 on 10.2 it's 2000.

        A bb dual core is matching android quads so you had a whole different phone in your hand than the one I have in my hand right now. I just don't like the android paradigm of switching between apps, buttons, etc. I had the playbook and it feels more natural to swipe out of an app and move on to the next one.

        I still think as far as work goes you're missing out, I don't use multimedia beside music however, I'd agree that android has the best experience for that just because it's baked in. Those live tv apps all work on the z10 but you can tell that's not the 'intended use'.

        I like it for what it is, a secure, encrypted device that I can use to communicate and it can also serve as a compass, flashlight, mp3 player, etc.

        All I need and want.

        The fact that I was going to get a note ii if this didn't come out in jan. but that this is beating it in geekbench despite having a dualcore just sweetens the pie so to speak.

        • saalnaz

          Fair enough...im not someone who gets into rooting or jailbreaking...i take it the way i see it. :)
          The looks were obviously the main seller and i read many reviews on the phone prior to making the step into android realm and into HTC...the One has better hardware features and the android platform is also improving and apps are plenty...the strength of BBs in the corporate world and amonsgt BBmers i think is dwindling..
          Even in my part of the world, where its 3rd world as many call the bb is losing its appeal due to whatsapp and for other reasons in general...many people in my organization are complaining that they cant switch to other platforms as they are simply fed up with BBs..interestingly enough where Bb likes to boast about security and as per what you mentioned world governments are becoming police states day by day, BB influence is weakening in this sense as they have to abide by government rules or no sales for them so the reasns corporates and people used them, for security, is being weakened...
          When it comes to my z10, i have seen the performance weakned and become slower and i started to see noticeable lag when moving from one page to next and clearly when you try to delete multiple items in the hub...bringing horrible memories of old BB platforms...i just hope i dont end up seeing the ugly clock thingie when loading or opening apps. Also the app store doesnt launch as fast as other platforms...there is a certain shortfall in the BB platofrms where they cant seem to fix...im ok with the brand though...always had a soft spot for them and. Ihope they continue competing

  • http://www.bordersweather.co.uk/ Andy J

    Presumably apps depending on the Google Play services framework will not work - and the likely scenario is that more and more apps will use the Google Play Services framework as it will obviously be updated more often than the Core Android version will - and hence will help address fragmentation issues.

    • domenukk

      So basically what you're saying is that fragmentation of Android devices will help adress fragmentation issues.

      Only those Devices with Play can play even if it's the same Android version.

      • http://www.bordersweather.co.uk/ Andy J

        Google are addressing the fragmentation issue (with regards to what API's developers have access to) by moving newer API's into the Play Services support library which is back-compatible to Android 2.2 this means that Developers using the Play Services Support Library can use newer features on older devices. Forks of Android still get a useable operating system but may not be able to run every app out there. For instance games which use the new Google Games API's require the Google Play Store and Play Services support to operate.

    • brown

      isn't that the same as Bluestack on PC ?

      • http://www.bordersweather.co.uk/ Andy J

        As far as I can tell - it's ANY device and / or Android runtime that does not include the Google Play Store and Play Services Framework. I do not know just how much currently relies on the framework but it's clear this is how Google plans to get around the issues of slow OEM / carrier updates - by moving the core functionality into a remotely updateable framework that is outside of the control of OEM's

        • http://www.techmansworld.com/ Michael Hazell

          I hate the Google Play Services package because it takes up space on my phone that I really don't need it to take. I uninstall it whenever I see it, and after a while it just stopped trying to install itself.

          • http://www.bordersweather.co.uk/ Andy J

            That's fine provided that you don't use any apps that rely on it - my point was that Google are going to be using the Play Services package more and more in order to bring newer features to older Android platforms. For instance any app using the new Google Games service or any app using the NEW Google Cloud messaging platform from this point going forward.

  • Davy Jones

    Kind of funny how BB10 users will soon be able to run Android apps that most Android users can't. Even if the runtime isn't as good as running the apps natively.

  • cy_n_ic

    Fast forward three years....ditch the OS and just manufacture devices that run android

  • Bedammit

    Android Apps can not get Top Promotion on BlackBerry World (The BlackBerry App Store) What does this mean? If you make an amazing App, BlackBerry will not promote it. All sponsored or promoted apps must be BB Cascade or BlackBerry Native Applications.

    Source: I attended several Developer sessions at BlackBerry Live.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

      Obviously, it helps to be featured, but I don't think it's critical. Logically, a popular app on Android is probably going to benefit from word-of-mouth. Likewise, it won't be hard to sell an app that offers relatively unique features and is moderately keyword friendly. Generally speaking, the same argument will keep coming up, the effort is minimal and the potential reward is fairly high.

      I was at a couple of the Jams America conferences. I don't remember hearing anybody say anything about Android Apps not being featured, but it really wouldn't surprise me. Android apps were the only thing not covered by the Dev Alpha trade-in program or the $10k promise. I'm more curious if Android Apps will appear in the Top Paid lists at all, because that's the exposure you want to get.

      • Bedammit

        Yea. I was in the Android session and several other developer sessions.
        They are really promoting the built for Blackberry path. Applications that are Android (rebuilds/ports) arent eligible for the Built for BlackBerry promotion. While I do think they should allow Android applications... Its a solution with a problem built in. BB wants to differentiate themselves when at the moment they are in dire need to be as similar to the competitors as possible.
        Being completely different is deadly when the primary content isnt even hosted on the mobile device.

        AKA Facebook
        web pages

        etc etc

        I have my Z10 still. Unopened. (NIB) I already had one before the conference.

        • GatzLoc

          No, what they said was if you just take an apk and convert it, it won't count an android port is ok a conversion isn't. This is also because if you put the phone in debug mode you can run any app you want, and it's funny because I have 4.2.2 so I can run any app I want, if there was a way to add .obb files I'd pirate android games! :P

          Well, ARMA Tactics since I buy ARMA anyway so I'm already paying them.

  • mechapathy

    How's that workin' out for them?

    • GatzLoc

      Read above comment double efficiency vs android according to geekbench.

      Conversion literally takes 1 upload to an online converter for a dev to submit and money is huge.

  • Roh_Mish

    Now even blackberry users have good 4.1+ experience that Samsung galaxy devices does not offer! Great.
    Samsung please release source code for ace plus.

    • GatzLoc

      Not meaning to sound like the fanboy just offering my side of the experinece but yea, it's a huge difference now. The only 2 android apps I use are wunderlist 2 and skype.

      Before, on gingerbread it would lag and just feel out of place, now it's like buttery smooth and while you can it's not native because there's a back button bar at the bottom, it's no less smooth than anything else. It all fits in,

  • Cory

    Stupid RIM, you should work yourself like Google did to make competition to Apple, that was the giant on apps and that time, and not just steal the effort that Google have invested into luring developers to get interested on Android. Its just not fair.

    • Giovanni64

      Developers don't mind. The more people they can reach the better. The fact they can do so without additional development costs for a new platform is a win/win for everybody.

      BlackBerry is working hard to grow their own app store, 80% of which are native BB10. They've hosted developer conferences around the world and have gone out of their way to make it as easy as possible for developers to work on BB10. The app store grew from 70,000 to over 120,000 in just 3 months.

      You probably don't know that BlackBerry invented mobile messaging years ago. They did so without any venture capital money. Nobody believed it was possible back then so they had no financial backers. Cell phones existed but there was no infrastructure to handle secure data communications. BlackBerry invented and built that infrastructure and made it possible. It took years for Cell providers to catch up... do you hear BlackBerry users complain that their technology was "copied".

      ps. you're argument is the same one that Apple fans say about Android.

  • AppleBerrySandwich

    Good move - gives BB10 additional apps for sure.

    I have a Blackberry Z10 and a G3. I prefer the BB10 OS - it's a much more organized and multitasking capable OS.

  • Giovanni64

    By BlackBerry endorsing Android in such ways as supporting Android 4.2.2 further encourages developers to develop Android first... and this hurts Apple and Microsoft, which is a good strategy for BlackBerry. Plus it could 'encourage' Android developers to make 'Android' apps work 'nicely' with BB10.

  • Ramy M.Khafagi

    I have jelly bean 4.2.1 samsung galaxy note,would it work with me or i have to get 4.2.2?

    • Adan H.

      This article is not for you.