back to article BlackBerry makes its devilish Android trickery official in OS update

BlackBerry has started to roll out the latest version of its eponymous Operating System. The tiny incremental increase in version numbering (from 10.2.0 to 10.2.1) belies its importance - for this version runs Android apps at full-tilt, thanks to trickery we described back in November and previewed earlier this month. …

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  1. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge

    lovely

    I was wondering whether this Android trick will actually gain official support - nice to see it.

    1. Moktu

      Re: lovely

      Annoyingly enough I have the go ahead to purchase Z30's, but EE the gits don't carry them.

      and I have a 8k equipment fund I want to spend.

  2. James 51 Silver badge

    That Z30 is looking better and better.

    1. Levente Szileszky

      Except it's not even available on any at least half-decent (=GSM) network here, in the US...

    2. Hans 1 Silver badge

      Mine is ;-)

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Buy an overpriced blackberry that compatible with at best 80% of Android apps.

    Or just buy an Android phone...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Buy an overpriced blackberry that compatible with at best 80% of Android apps.

      Will be compatible with approximately 100% of android apps, and notably, most android phones don't have 80% app compatibility because carriers control the OS version and most are 2 or 3 versions behind.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Buy an overpriced blackberry that compatible with at best 80% of Android apps.

        Does it work with apps that have native code? Nope... Does it work with apps that use the Android OpenGLX libraries, nope.

        These are just the two we know about. 80% is actually rather generous estimation of how good the new Android emulation is under QNX.

        Then you have the problem of course, that they aren't authorised Google Play devices, so no play store, only the shite that ends up on the chinese-copy stores....

    2. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: Buy an overpriced blackberry that compatible with at best 80% of Android apps.

      You've got it wrong.

      Buy a BlackBerry that will allow you to customise your apps permissions so they don't read your text messages.

      If you've got an Android phone, and you've installed Facebook, check the permissions. You'll have given it permisison to read all of your SMS messages.

      BlackBerry doesn't do that. So you're paying for security.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Buy an overpriced blackberry that compatible with at best 80% of Android apps.

      Or you could say,

      "Buy an overpriced Android that compatible with at best 80% of Android apps"

      and be more accurate with it. Last I heard a lot of software devs were targeting only a few Android platforms and the rest can go hang so far as bugs are concerned.

    4. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Buy an overpriced blackberry that compatible with at best 80% of Android apps.

        Native extensions work for sure, and OpenGLX seems to work just fine too. So 80% isn't at all generous.

        The only apps that haven't worked in my testing have been those that download target-specific extensions and assets based on your device when the app is first run. Since BB10 isn't a well-recognized Android target, such apps don't know what to download.

  4. OrinokoMatt
    Thumb Up

    Leaps and bounds

    Having used a corporately activated Blackberry 10 device since they came out the OS is coming on at an impressive rate. I've now dropped my own Android device and simply have one Z30 for everything. I think the "welcome to 2008" title for this article is a little unfair and the pinch and zoom references a new feature for mailbox management which is actually really cool. You've been able to pinch and zoom on a BB since roughly...ermm.. 2008.

    Really looking forward to the trolling anti-BB comments from loads of iSheeple who've never actually used a Blackberry 10 device. I've used all the major phone OS's and BB10 combined with a corporate BES10 server really is a force to be reckoned with, ask the Pentagon...

    1. asdf Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Leaps and bounds

      Its cold in Ottawa this time of year huh? Guess you could use some good news.

      1. OrinokoMatt

        Re: Leaps and bounds

        Can't speak for Ottawa.. but Manchester UK is pretty wet as usual.

    2. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Leaps and bounds

      We'll fix that subhead. I called it "pinch to zoom" which is (at best) ambiguous - and for most people will be very misleading. "Pinch to filter" would be much more accurate.

      I haven't seen another device that allows you to filter messages instantly like this, and it's very useful..

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A brilliant improvement to BB 10.

    The Q5 and Z10 are looking better now. I have a Curve 9320 and a Playbook. I wish they would provide an upgrade for the Playbook to BB OS 10 or bring out a new version, perhaps with a 10" screen. There is only about a tenner between the Z10 and Q5 at carphonewarehouse. Maybe it is time to get a Z10 and upgrade to a touchscreen. I really hope this latest improvement to BB 10 gives Blackberry a boost. I really want them to do well. As OrinokoMatt says, ask the Pentagon. Blackberry respect their users privacy which sems to be a bit lacking these days with other companies. Yes Google, I'm pointing the finger at you.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why not run Android and allow BB apps to run on it?

  7. Guillermo Lo Coco

    It doesn't matter how good is BB, its closed source, and I really have no idea what going on in background.

    SO... I keep in Android, no matter how compatible BB is with Android Apps.

    1. swissrobin

      Re: Android being open source

      It depends on whether you want to know how, say, the graphics hardware works or how the baseband processor works. Both of these can "see" all your data. Neither of them have source code available for a typical handset that you buy in the shops.

      You cannot completely recompile the entire software stack for the phone you actually use (yes, you can make your own Android build, but it will either have no useful graphics capabilities, or you'll be using somebody's binary blob).

    2. William Boyle

      The OS kernel is closed source

      But it is VERY clearly documented. As it is a micro-kernel architecture and all applications and drivers communicate with the kernel via well-defined messages, this is not such a problem. After 30+ years developing QNX applications, I would rather write software for it than just about any OS, though its full support for the GNU compiler suite, POSIX, Eclipse, etc. means that most applications written for Linux/Android will port without much problem. I know, because I do this regularly - most of the time it is a simple recompile issue. FWIW, QNX wrote the CDT plugins for Eclipse, so if you use Eclipse for C/C++ application development, you can thank QNX!

  8. John Stoffel

    I've had a Z10 from quite early on, and now I'm also carrying an iPhone 5 and I have to say I prefer the screen size and feel of the Z10 over the iPhone. Somethings are better on the iPhone, but the Z10 gets alot right as well.

    The soft keyboard on the Z10 is better, or at least I can type faster and more accurately on there than on the apple. I've got bigger hands, so I find the just a bit bigger Z10 a real advantage. I'd probably go Android otherwise because of the physical size I'd prefer to have.

    I also like that I can expand my Z10 with an SDHC card for more storage room, as well as replac the battery with a new one or a spare if need be. And the iPhone's email is *horrible*. Maybe I'm dumb, but not being able to group emails by sender and quickly and easily select multiple emails at once is key, and the oiPhone (running iOS 7) just doesn't do that.

    I do like iIOS7 though, it looks much better to my eye and seems to work quite well overall.

    John

  9. Khaptain Silver badge

    The thorn in the foot

    The problem with recent BBs are that they now require BES10, Blackberry ( RIM or whatever they are now called) needs to make the phones at least semi-compatible with existing BES servers. Then the corporate buyers would at least accept to include them as possible candidates....

    Updating to BES 10 is probably not a major requirement for many of the corporates at the moment.

    The phones ready but the essentials are not mainstream.......not an easy position...

    1. br14a

      Re: The thorn in the foot

      Isn't the upgrade free. And I believe you can support both BB7 and BB10 devices from the same server.

      So there's no real reason not to upgrade. Or if you prefer, go for their cloud option.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The thorn in the foot

        No you cannot support older devices from the BB10 server

        we have to run 2 servers now, bes5 and bes10

  10. Frank N. Stein

    Blackberry has a chance to regain their footing in the Enterprise. Most of the customers that we support are using iPhone 4S and Android Phones that are 3 years old. Windows Phone has very little presence in AirWatch MDM deployments, at the moment. As someone else noted, the Z30 is definitely looking good.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Windows Phone has very little presence in AirWatch MDM deployments, at the moment"

      Presumably because enterprises can manage it via SCCM that they already have and not have to buy another product...

      1. Tom 13

        Re: enterprises can manage it via SCCM that they already have

        Honestly, the only people I've ever seen using a Windows phones are the ones in the commercials or Ballmer during a presentation.

        I don't even think half the WinPhone tollers have an actual Windows phone.

  11. Captain Queeg

    Leaps and bounds?

    Yes, BB10 has come on nicely but as the article says it's becoming niche. Nothing wrong with that of course, but I took the plunge yesterday and abandoned my Z10 in favour of an iPhone 5S with Good Technology for work mail.

    Nowt wrong with the BB that NATIVE apps wouldn't solve, but droid cast offs just muddle the UX.

    By all means look forward to trolling from fans of other platforms. You can smile and sit back knowing you've made the right choice for you. Unfortunately it wasn't the right choice for me.

    1. br14a

      Re: Leaps and bounds?

      "Unfortunately it wasn't the right choice for me"

      I'd give yourself a few months before you speak in absolute terms.

      1. Captain Queeg

        Re: Leaps and bounds?

        Actually, I'm returning to iOS after spells with Android and BB10.

        For me BB10 wasn't the right choice. It's a bit sad really as I wanted it to be, but it wasn't. :-/

  12. Inspector71
    Joke

    Plaudits

    Got to give them their due. Still up there with the big boys. Only about a month behind a major player like Jolla.

  13. BillJ

    I've been using 10.2.1 for a few weeks now and I'm impressed with its abilities. BlackBerry's tagline for the new release is "Do More. More Easily.", and that's very appropriate.

    I think the smartphone landscape is going to look very different in a couple of years.

    Cheers. :)

  14. William Boyle

    Very good engineering

    I have been a QNX developer since 1982 - I have serial number 0004. They have some of the best software engineers it has been my privilege to work with over the past 30+ years. FWIW, in the past I was an OEM of the operating system, and wrote a good bit of the TCP/IP code for the QNX 2.x OS so it could be used by the US Navy. So, it is not surprising to me that they managed this "hack". Kudos QNX!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Very good engineering

      The Android native extensions hack wasn't by QNX engineers, though. It was an old fogey from RIM and a recent UWaterloo grad that came up with it, and the Android team as a whole was largely a RIM team.

  15. Jim84

    Regular Home Sceen

    Does BB10 have one of these now?

  16. DanceMan
    Thumb Up

    Smartphone newbie, as of yesterday. I was influenced both by the good reviews of the OS here and from my son, a veteran of two Android phones, at least one of which he rooted. Anxiously awaiting Wind (a minor player here in Canada) to provide their update to 10.2.1. The Q10 will only cost me $200Cdn on a 2 year. Not dead yet, really, it's feeling so much better..............

  17. Wilson! Wilson!

    How to install Amazon app store on BB10.2.1

    How to get Android apps on devices running BB 10.2.1 from the Amazon app store in 3 quick steps:

    1- Download and install the Amazon app store: Open browser and go to (http://www.amazon.com/getappstore) and tap "Download Amazon app store"

    2- Run and log in to the Amazon app store.

    3- Download and install Android apps.

    That's it!

    1. Nathan 6

      Re: How to install Amazon app store on BB10.2.1

      How about install Google play store?

      1. Wilson! Wilson!

        Re: How to install Amazon app store on BB10.2.1

        Not sure about Google play, but Amazon has welcomed BB users to use the Amazon AppStore.

        Alternatives:

        DroidStore (native Google Play client)

        Amazon App Store

        1mobile Market

        APK Train (website)

        Snap APK Downloader

        If you already own an Android device, you could install an app such as “App Backup and Restore” then export your APK files to your cloud storage such as Dropbox. You can then use your BlackBerry device to open your Dropbox account and simply click on the saved APK file to install.

  18. Confuciousmobil
    Flame

    I'm impressed!

    I thought Blackberry had already gone out of business. Nice to see one last gasp....

  19. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  20. John Q Public

    ...as much as I love Crackberry...sadly...I think it's a great set of ideas over the past year'ish...but sadly...it's probably a little too late...like using a bucket-brigade to save the Titanic...

  21. Nathan 6
    Facepalm

    Again, too litle to late!

    As a loyal BB device owner for the past 10 years, I finally had to get a Moto X, simple because I have to faith that BB is going to be making phones in 2 yrs (when I can upgrade to a new phone) so might as well migrate now.

    IMO, One of BB biggest mistake was not making sub $100 (with contract) BBOS7 devices to appeal to users like me, who just need a phone that does task good enough, until OS10 proved itself. The cheapest OS7 device from my carrier was $250 and it wasn't even in stock. OS10 is of course better, but it has nothing that most people can't leave without (especially OS7 users), or find in the competition, and that is why it just not appealing to the masses.

    1. Hans 1 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Again, too litle to late!

      @Nathan6

      Exactly, let's now see what Google/NSA/AddAgencies will do with your data, he ?

      1. Nathan 6

        Re: Again, too litle to late!

        Hmmm, I am sure BB wasn't allowing backdoors to government agencies. Oh wait, there is the issue with India demanding this from BB, and BB caving. Also, why do you think Pentagon loved BB so much?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I was pleasantly surprised

    The jump from 10.2 to 10.2.1 seemed a lot more than from 10.1 to 10.2. But poor old BB can do no right. They've even been mocked for enabling the FM radio on the Q10/Z30.

    The biggest change I have noticed on the Q10 is that the standby drain seems to have been fixed - if I don't make voice calls, but with 3G and wireless on, battery life is around 3 days. (No 4G here in the sticks).

    The jury is still out on whether I would buy another one, but the progress since May last year is very visible, and this is the first time I've had a phone which really does improve with time. BB used to have far too many models, and having only 4 to support for BB 10 must surely help.

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