The following procedures require a minimum of Blackberry OS v10.2.1.xxx
Using Android apps on your Blackberry is not a band-aid approach to using apps. It’s no different than using an Android app on your Samsung phone that uses Samsung’s version of the Android OS. This is a legitimate means to another app store aside from the default Blackberry collection. Things may not look as slick, or work as flawlessly as a native Blackberry app, but maybe someday Android will catch up 🙂
There is more than one way to install Android APK files, and we will cover them in detail.
Before we get into installing Android apps we must enable our Blackberry to allow us to install outside of Blackberry World. Navigate to Settings > App Manager > Installing Apps. Once there you will have to enable the option to Allow Apps from other Sources to be Installed. It is probably a good idea to also enable Inspect Apps Before Installing.
If this option is not enabled you will only be able to download and install apps from Blackberry World. In the event that you are unable to install an APK file, I would suggest checking here first to make sure this is switched to “On”. With this enabled we will now look at the different methods for finding and installing Android applications.
Direct Download Method
If you have APK files in your download folder, or if you have a repository of apps you want to install from, you can install them directly. Prior to the methods detailed below I acquired most of my Android apps from http://apps.evozi.com/apk-downloader/
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On this page you simply follow these steps:
- go to the Play Store on a new page and search for the app you want, copy the URL
- paste URL in the box
- Generate Download Link
- Download the APK file to your Blackberry or computer
Now simply place this APK file on your phone, go the file manager and tap it to install. That’s it.
This method is effective, although it can be time consuming. There will be occasions when the website is under a heavy load and you may have to wait an undetermined amount of time before you can download.
If you find an APK file on the Internet and download it, this would also be the method used to install the app you’ve just acquired. I really don’t recommend hunting down and installing random apps off the Internet, but it’s your phone – your choice.
Amazon App Store
Since Blackberry OS 10.3.1 the Amazon app store is included by default as part of the Blackberry ecosystem.
If you are not running OS 10.3.1 or newer, or if you’ve accidentally deleted the Amazon app store, you can install it on your device easily. On your Blackberry device, navigate to http://www.amazon.com/gp/mas/get/android to install the Appstore.
You will be asked for permissions while downloading, and it’s safe to accept them. Once downloaded you will see the Install button … one press and you’re finished. You can now browse the Appstore to install Android apps. This method is pretty good for installing apps, however you may find at times that not all apps are available, or Amazon has branded them. This is probably the fastest way to start installing apps though, and most of the major apps are unbranded, and freely available.
SNAP for Blackberry
Snap is an excellent manager for Google Play. Although this method may be the most time consuming to set up and get running, it is the best procedure because the apps are pulled directly from Google Play. This is my routine of choice for installing Android apps. Snap also has intelligence enough to know when apps need to be updated, and know whether or not you have purchased apps from Google.
To use Snap you will have to sideload the BAR file to your Blackberry. If you are comfortable with sideloading to your Blackberry you can skip to the next section. If you need instructions on how to Sideload, please see this article (opens in new window/tab), and we’ll see you back here in a few minutes.
Now that you’re an expert on sideloading apps to your Blackberry you can download Snap at http://redlightoflove.com/snap/ and Sideload it. After you sign in with your Google account everything should look very familiar.
The advantage to using Snap is that files are pulled directly from the Google Store, so there is no worry of contamination, branding, or any of the other problems associated with obtaining software elsewhere on the Internet.
There are a few script files floating around the Internet that will install Snap for you by running them, and other methods of installing Google Play on your Blackberry. I personally haven’t tested these, so I don’t feel comfortable commenting on them. From sources I’ve read there has been great success with these methods as well. However, with the steps outlined above and the methods provided, you should be installing Android apps in no time.
As always, leave any questions or comments below.