Blackberry may be having a rough time of it with flagging sales performance and complications with a certain carrier partner, but that hasn't stopped the company from courting app developers. In an effort to bring in more talent from the much larger and flourishing Android ecosystem, the Blackberry 10.3 SDK has bumped the Android runtime support up from API Level 17 to API level 18 (a.k.a. Android 4.3 Jelly Bean). The update will also brings some additional features and enhance integration with the operating system.

Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 2.19.13 PM

Aside from the general advantages gained by moving to API level 18, this update will also enable support for Bluetooth Low-Energy and NFC. Readers may recall that BLE wasn't introduced until Android 4.3. While native Blackberry 10 apps could already access BLE and NFC, Android-based apps were unable to use them in previous versions.

The 10.3 SDK also expands on the capabilities of the Share Framework. In the previous release, Android apps could register to received shared data from other apps, but not send it. With this update, Android apps can also submit data to be passed through the Share Framework.

Finally, this update also enables access to the Blackberry 10 account manager so apps with a login prompt can achieve a faster and more automated sign-on experience.

Blackberry continues to maintain a steady pace of releasing updates to its Android runtime about 6 to 9 months after they have been announced. Developers interested in building for Blackberry 10 can hit the downloads page to pick up plugins for Android Studio or Eclipse, the command line tools for manual compilation, and the device simulator. If you happen to have a Blackberry 10 device handy, there are also beta firmwares available for most handsets.

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.

  • deltatux

    Sounds good, Blackberry needs as much help as they can that's for sure and this is a great step forward. I know a lot of friends who swear by their BB10 services would love this.

    • Sam Hollis

      Is this your friend?

      • David Margolin

        shots fired!!!

        • cellabonez

          need a medic!!!!!!!!

  • ProductFRED

    I like how they named it "The Blackberry Runtime for Android" to make it seem like Blackberry is helping Android.

    It should be "The Android Runtime for Blackberry"

  • Ziggyfly Jen

    BlackBerry 10 is awesome!!!

  • disqus_7XunpanFgK

    Blackberry is barely selling 500,000 units a quarter (worldwide). This only confirms that Blackberry should have just dumped BB10 for Android. They wouldn't be heading for bankruptcy if they had.

    • Ryan

      It has nothing to do with running BB10 vs Android. BlackBerry brand was/is tarnished and to many consumers already moved to another ecosystem. I think they would have had just as much trouble if they moved Android instead, maybe even more so because of security issues. BTW they are no where near bankruptcy, they have over 2 billion in the bank and have stopped much of the bleeding. They are moving away from devices and turning towards software and services for their revenue. The device sector is set to run at a break even.

      • Andrew

        I read today that Ford is Dropping Microsoft for their infotainment systems for Blackberry. Thought it was odd. My wife had a MyFord Touch update today in her Edge... completely broke everything phone related. To be fair, we were on our way to dinner and it updated again and fixed everything.

        One thing I noticed is that our 2013 now supports mobile hotspot in the car. Meaning, its had the hardware to do so for a while now... and they just now enabled it close to a year after they made it? The article I read blamed Microsoft for their slowness to progress and overall disatisfaction from customer base on how freakin' slow the UI is.

        • didibus

          Of all the cars I've used, Ford's Microsoft based infotainment system is the one I disliked the most, and I was expecting it to be the most awesome of them all, since it was Microsoft made.

          So, I'm actually happy about this. Ford's newer cars are getting better and better, but that infotainment system was making me leave them out of my options.

  • Andy

    Combined with recent release of cheap BB Z3, this will be awesome.

  • Matthew Fry

    Blackberry just needs to cut its losses and re-invent itself as high end enterprise Android handsets heavily customized for businesses.

    • Ryan

      Yeah because so many manufacturers are making huge profits off Android.

      • dude

        Well... they are.

        • Ryan

          In Q3 2013 the only manufacturer making profits off of Android was Samsung. HTC, LG, Motorola, and Nokia all lost money. Also Apple with their something like 12-15% market share somehow produces more profit than all Android manufacturers combined, including Samsung.

          • Android Developer

            So why do they keep on trying and losing?
            To make their other products more popular?

          • Craig M

            Other manufacturers are making money off of Android you moron, it's just that Samsung is taking the lions share.

          • Ryan

            Share some numbers then? I'm sure some of them a making small amounts of profit, but many are borderline in the red.

          • didibus

            See, I keep being surprised by this. There has to be something we don't understand. If every OEM except for Samsung lost money year over year, why is there just more and more OEM entering the Android marketplace? And why is none of them changing to something else? When's the last time HTC made money for example? I feel like they never did, so why are they not bankrupt?

          • Ryan

            Well the smartphone industry is growing rapidly and some companies are trying to tap into that growth I imagine. Many of the corporation/ companies have different divisions that provide revenue, beside just smartphone manufacturing. (Sony, Google, LG, Lenova, Amazon). Look at BlackBerry, they have been losing money on devices for awhile now and are still not in Bankruptcy.

    • dude

      So BlackBerry is part of the Rockstar consortium that is suing Google, and they also want some of Android success. They need to make up their mind.

  • Sophia Patel
  • MikeJwF

    This must be for the people that miss those 15 minute battery pulls.

  • mgamerz

    This is how I envision it was announced.

  • JazzEspresso

    BlackBerry? they still around? I thought they are gone by now...hah hah hah hah

  • http://www.glu7.com/ Larissa Hadley

    Informative news shared Cody Toombs regarding Blackberry OS 10.3 SDK Beta Released With Android


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