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back to article The REAL JUICE behind leaked BlackBerry OS: Android apps to slip in without protection

BlackBerry may have “solved” its app problem - but at the expense of the health of its native BB10 app market. Android apps can now be installed without conversion, and run at near-native speed on BlackBerry devices, after the latest leaks of BlackBerry OS 10.2.1. Of course, BlackBerry would prefer developers to write native …

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Choice

As a consumer, I would like to buy whatever hardware (cell phone) I like and install whatever OS I choose. Android compatibility would be needed, to tap into the huge number of available apps.

As cell phones close the gap to PCs, in terms of power and usage, I expect to have those same options.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Choice

Another way to get malware on your Blackberry, just install an Android app.

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Re: Choice

Another way to get malware on your Blackberry, just install an Android app.

That's exactly what I thought. Companies with a BYOD strategy based on Blackberry's security will have a fit if this comes out.

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Re: Choice

How does that work?

You can't install any OS on any hardware today - the two being somewhat inextricably linked. That's as true for a desktop or laptop computer as it is for a phone or tablet.

Show me AROS running natively on a Mac and I might change my mind...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Choice

Which is impossible with ARM since each SOC maker had variances. Linus complained about it recently.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/09/11/torvalds_suggests_poison_and_sabotage_for_arm_soc_designers/

You're better off having your OS designed for your hardware than expecting to load one onto your phone as if you're running an x86 clone.

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Re: Choice

"Companies with a BYOD strategy based on Blackberry's security will have a fit if this comes out."

Not if they bother to research how it works. (Unlike the author of this piece)

Apks cannot be downloaded on the corporate side of an enterprise BlackBerry smartphone. Only on the personal side. I guess that's hard to understand if you're struggling with the mess that is BYOD without BlackBerry Enterprise Server.

You really should take a look at BlackBerry 10. The enterprise features are significantly ahead of the competition.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Choice

Android apps can't run in the work partition of the BlackBerry Balance feature. So companies wouldn't have to worry about malware. Only Android apps that have been ported and submitted to BlackBerry World can be installed on the work partition.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Choice

Apks cannot be downloaded on the corporate side of an enterprise BlackBerry smartphone. Only on the personal side. I guess that's hard to understand if you're struggling with the mess that is BYOD without BlackBerry Enterprise Server.

Until this idea, the whole platform was controlled. Now we suddenly have a way to introduce uncontrolled software in one partition, which means the lock picks have now been allowed to enter the building. The next stage is trying to pick the locks nearby. Security is multi layer - giving up one of your moats is not exactly improving your protection, and most hacks I know of hardware always started with establishing a beachhead first. The idea of actually inviting 3rd parties to build that beachhead is crazy for a company that used their security as selling point.

You really should take a look at BlackBerry 10. The enterprise features are significantly ahead of the competition.

That I agree with. But the idea of allowing your enemies much nearer the gate so they can try their hacksaws on it doesn't strike me as sane, it strikes me as desperate.

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Re: Choice

You always been able to package apks as BAR files on BlackBerry 10. So for those intent on breaking BlackBerry security the foothold has always been there.

This just makes it easier to download the apps.

And if you're downloading apps from Amazon web store, you have to assume there's some degree of control over the apps.

The good news is that corporate data is protected. And I would guess BlackBerry could provide security policies that close down the personal workspace for those corporations looking for absolute security.

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I can see it now

Many enterprises could now look at BB as an alternative phone system, they would get the benifit of being able to have part of the phone for work only and the security features of BB plus allow workers to do other hings safely.

No need to lock yourself into Apple or Windows and no need to be open on Android, this could actually save BB as they could market the OS on phones, tablets etc etc.

Yeh I know I'm dreaming but stranger things have happened....

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Re: I can see it now

I like the cut of your jib sir.

I thought the exact same thing. BlackBerry has tried (and ultimately failed) to become a significant contender in the phone market, which is dominated by Apple and Android. Build a phone or (operating system) that would allow someone to access the same apps as their buddies can, but on a phone thats essentially more secure than theirs, and you're on to a winner.

I can't see BlackBerry making any security sacrifices in order to make this sort of compatibility happening either. So I think this is a winner, and I can't wait to play Football Manager on my BlackBerry Z10!!!!

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Re: I can see it now

@wolfetone - Which phone market is Apple "dominating" with 12.1% market share?

There is only one "dominant" platform, and that is clearly Android with 81% of the market. BB is smart to jump on board.

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Re: I can see it now

@wolfetone: If it was just that - BB is a more secure superset of android - they'd have a surefire winner on their hands. Why wouldn't you want better security if it costs nothing? But, as the great philosopher Alice Cooper said, nothing's free. If nothing else, you'd 'pay' by having a more limited choice of handsets to choose from. That range of choice is IMO a fair part of what makes android popular.

I'd be interested to see how they'd go if BB quit selling hardware and just sold their OS as a replacement ROM for other android phones. A direct competitor for CyanogenMod. It won't happen but it'd be interesting to see how they would do.

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Re: I can see it now

I know you already know this, but Apple (and iOS developers) manage to extract more moolah from their percentage than Android does from it's far larger percentage. Thus Apple dominate the MARKET.

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Unhappy

>One is that Google today is a predatory $50bn-a year market-munching monster, and no rival is prepared to indulge it in the way they indulged Microsoft.

The commentards do, though. According to this bunch of helldesk throwbacks, Google can do no wrong.

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@dogged - "The commentards do, though. According to this bunch of helldesk throwbacks, Google can do no wrong."

You obviously don't read the comments very often. Google gets flamed on these boards more than just about anyone, and deservedly so. When you've got your hands in that many pies, you are going to be held to a pretty high standard.

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While Google makes the best product, we'll all stay 'loyal'. But the users of Google products were, 10 years ago, users of Microsoft products and, when the next significant change in the market comes, we'll be customers of that new behemoth. There's nothing wrong with a single, popular platform that allows anyone to create software and make their fortune. There is something wrong with games consoles and iPhones in terms of freedom for developers.

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no...

That is more of a death wail - no company *wants* others in the wall garden of my toys, my choice who plays.

BB are sliding around the pan with iOS and Android cleaning, descaling and removing all the handholds. BB knows its dead, its just not stopped flopping around yet.

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Anonymous Coward

See what you did there...

You boarded the Android fragmentation FUD train.

Amazon use the standard Android APK format, as so Samsung. What this means WRT to Blackberyy, who knows..

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There is little to comaplin about...

...with the APK compatibility. Scaremongering unsecured apps is all too easy to do however. Personally, I am frustrated at how many apps rely on Google APIs and so do not work or work partially. Even TripAdvisor stutters reqeusting access to Google. Others such as Comics work fine for pre-bought content but in app purchases fail forcing onto the web to buy the latest Astonishing X-Men. The others such as $tarbuck$ work flawlessly even allow you to recharge your account as the purchasing portion is handled via their website.

The gamble is worthwhile: if BB garners enoguh support and app devs see lots of BB related activity, the market is there. But the headline that all apps work well on BB10 is not quite right and a way off.

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Anonymous Coward

We did a repackaging of our Android app.

Great we thought - saves the hassle of developing a native app. Turns out Android .bar's can't be deployed via the BES. Way to go! Looks like I'll be doing the native app after all.

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Re: We did a repackaging of our Android app.

It's a security feature. And there's always room in the world for another C program.

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BB is over

I really hate to say this, because I wanted them to spring back, but BB is over.

Being a better windows then windows was never enough for OS/2. So too will being a better android then android likely not be enough for BB. I'm afraid it all comes down to timing, QNX is probably the best base for a phone OS out there, but it's too late. If they can't do something to really stand out <u>in the minds of the consumer</u>, and a better kernel isn't going to cut it, they are doomed to failure.

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Re: BB is over

Hmm maybe us Blackberry users need to pronounce Blackberry in a posher way to match what Dacia and Skoda currently do.

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Whatever killed OS/2

Whatever killed OS/2, it was not usability or even applications. It was a combination of factors, but mostly just dirty tricks on the part of Microsoft.

I was involved with OS/2 and with Windows from their beginnings. Prior to the release of the Windows APIs that were intended to compete with OS/2, we were given a copy of the proposed APIs for comment. Compared to the OS/2 APIs they were a disaster.

I still think that OS/2 could be punched up to be a fantastic OS even now. The OS/2 die hards were not that way because it was all they knew. It was, especially for its time, a simply incredible thing of beauty. Windows OTOH, not so much.

If BBs OS is very good, and I suspect it is and the Android Apps run OK out of the box, then BlackBerry has a real chance to come back from the dead. Any apps that become popular enough can be ported to native code if needed. Ones that are not that popular will not be much of a factor anyway.

BlackBerry should stick to their knitting, lock down their phones as the only genuinely secure ones and get back in the saddle selling to businesses. Their market share is imploding, but they still have an entre into many companies and as long as they have a value proposition that makes sense, there are still people in those companies that prefer to use Blackberries anyway.

The ability to run Android apps is, I think, something of a game-changer for Blackberry. Being like OS/2 in terms of quality might not be that much of a boost, but it won't hurt.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Whatever killed OS/2

I see another die hard like me<g>

OS2hank

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Re: Whatever killed OS/2

OS/2 isn't DEAD, just updated. See: ecomstation.com and mensys.nl Still running my file-print-fax server, and Mesa2 based accounting for over 18 years.

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Anonymous Coward

You seem to have missed the most obvious line of thought out of the article. The one where RIM/Blackberry dump their mobile design/hardware manufacturing and instead concentrate on their OS, making it an attractive alternative for companies like Samsung. With ever increasing Android compatibilty, and a good security reputation as an OS, it would surely be an attractive option for mobile manufacturers.

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Personally I think the first company that brings out a device with a keyboard like the BB of old will make a killing, regardless of OS. I know people that seem to be able to type War & Peace on that keyboard.

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Anonymous Coward

> I know people that seem to be able to type War & Peace on that keyboard.

In Cyrillic and everything?

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"Personally I think the first company that brings out a device with a keyboard like the BB of old will make a killing, regardless of OS."

There are a wide range of such phones on the market right now, this second. Nokia alone sell 4.

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What possible incentive would there be for a manufacturer to take on an additional O/S that runs the same apps as Android, when they already have Android?

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"What possible incentive would there be for a manufacturer to take on an additional O/S that runs the same apps as Android, when they already have Android?"

When Google start licensing services for a price.

Samsung are either intending to or have already forked Android. As I believe did Amazon, Xiaomi and Baidu. They're obviously concerned about something.

Not beyond the bounds of possibility for Lenovo or Huawei to license BlackBerry 10 - if it's at the right price. And they wouldn't have to take much market share in China to be a rip roaring success.

Any manufacturer wanting to sell to enterprise is a candidate. The companies woes have affected sales of it's enterprise servers, but they have the most compelling combination of device and MDM on the market.

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(Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

Freedom from Google = potential service revenue.

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Symbian and Nokia

Personally I think Nokia should have followed a similar strategy. That is fitted a Android compatible interface to the best of class hard realtime OS Symbian. It can't have been a worse strategy than going for Windows Mobile.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Symbian and Nokia

Hard to take you seriously really - what has Windows Mobile got to do with Nokia and their Windows Phone Lumias?

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Maybe So, Look at Macintosh

Macintosh computers became acceptable when Parallels and Fusion let you run Windows programs.

Some users, me included, would not switch to Macintosh without taking our favorite Windows programs with us.

Unless there is some "Killer APP" that is BB only, I can't see a reason anybody would bother.

There must be a reason to want BB.

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Coat

Re: Maybe So, Look at Macintosh

>Macintosh computers became acceptable when Parallels and Fusion let you run Windows programs.

My observation is that Macintosh computers became acceptable when Microsoft released Vista and the world said "meh" and looked what else was out there...

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Joke

Re: Maybe So, Look at Macintosh

My observation is that Macintosh computers became acceptable when Microsoft released Vista and the world said "meh" and looked what else was out there expressed its dissatisfaction with a collective gag reflex...

FTFY!!!

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Re: Maybe So, Look at Macintosh

I thought they became acceptable when sufficiently much of what consumers use computers for had moved into the browser so that, with the native Microsoft Office also available, the software gap no longer mattered. Apple's transition to a competent OS in the years immediately preceding helped too. The switch to Intel was just the icing on the cake.

As for BlackBerry, I have to agree with the other commenters that a difference here is that Google probably isn't going to go on an anti-competitive market fixing spree. I also don't see how it matters that much to BlackBerry if people end up thinking of their OS as just a weird version of Android — from where they are now, anything that makes money is a win.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Maybe So, Look at Macintosh

Some users, me included, would not switch to Macintosh without taking our favorite Windows programs with us.

It's more about the software you cannot do without. I only dropped paint.net when Pixelmator v2 came out, but Sage is still one of those business tools we have to run under Windows. I know a couple of people are now looking at alternatives that support both platforms, which seems to suggest Sage won't be with us for much longer either, thus removing the last need for patching bits of Windows inside OSX.

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Unified Non-Google Andriod

Yes it is quite possible that device makers may shun the Google build and go it alone and carve up the app builness without going through google or "selling" access to key services to other such as bing.

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Apple would have to fight back with it's own enterprise partition and finally, at last, allow more then 1 document to be attached to an Email.

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No one brave enough to announce this at BB?

The consumer division runs itself apparently. Can't wait for the Black Monday price of BB10, say $80.

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Finally

BB just made it back on to my must-try list. Their keyboard phones have always been. The best by far.

BB should have given us Android apps one way or another years ago. There's no reason they couldn't mop the floor with Samsung if they had the Androi apps, at least in the US.

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Re: Finally

Agree 100%, if you like a keyboard then BB win, followed closely by Nokia. I'm just talking about the quality and ease of use of the keyboard NOT the OS you are typing stuff into!

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Mushroom

Sad day, sad day

how the best tech usually loses the battle of the market place. I may be getting old but this romance with touch screens will end soon. What happened to RSI, does it not work with touch screens ? Personally speaking, I hate smudges on the screen when doing most tasks or even playing about, some iPhone fans seem to like using ones with huge cracks in the screen as they often go out and buy the same again but a later version.

There's no getting away from it, people are generally quite gullible, nay, f*cking stupid .... and a shiney novelty to wave about in the pub seems to be their only agenda, not getting any work done, or having fun even.

Losing half my screen real estate in order to type an eMail or enter a web address or complete an on-line form is IMHO - flippin bonkers, never mind switching screens to type upper/lower case or numerals.

Got to say it, you must be f*cking mental to want anything to do with a touch screen, and it doesn't matter which tech tat firm knocked it out ......... didn't you ever repeatedly press Delete by accident ? How thin are your fingers ?

I feel sorry mostly for all those grannies that I am regularly called upon to help with their new device, who have an iFad, Windowlet, Googlegawp@, Samsmug Glaxo, etc, to compliment their Parkinson's disease, simply because their grand daughter/son or other stupid offsprog said that they should have one in order to do Face Time. For fucks sake, with the iFads, you don't even get a manual that you can read unless you are actually conneced to the internet !!!!!!!!!! How daft is that ?

Sometimes I feel like we are all drowning in a sea of IT lard and that the HCI handbook went out of the window some time ago .... along with our common sense.

Alf

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Re: Sad day, sad day

@Alf - "Got to say it, you must be f*cking mental to want anything to do with a touch screen, and it doesn't matter which tech tat firm knocked it out ......... didn't you ever repeatedly press Delete by accident ? How thin are your fingers ?"

Post of the year. I nominate Alf for President of the World.

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Re: Sad day, sad day

"simply because their grand daughter/son or other stupid offsprog said that they should have one in order to do Face Time"

Yes. Absolutely.

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