Not many people seem to know this, but since the release of Blackberry OS 10.2 last October, it has been possible to install and use Android apps on modern Blackberry handsets. I tried this back then with a Q10 I was testing. I managed to get Instagram and some other apps working but it was a painful process of having to connect by USB and install Android APK packages using a PC. Imagine installing apps like that with your iPhone or Android like it was 2005! The novelty wears off quickly. I was excited because I really love the physical keyboard, but when I discovered that Instagram was too big for the screen and the filters were cut off, I got rid of the phone.
Fast forward to January with the release of Blackberry 10.2.1 and the OS now allows you to install Android APK files directly on the phone itself. I tried this again with another tester Blackberry Q10 and happily discovered that Instagram has been modified to scale now, and will fully work on the Q10. The pictures are really small mind you, but it works!
There are several ways through which Android applications, software and games can be installed on a Blackberry Smartphone. Aptoide is one of the most common and widely used applications which allow Blackberry users to run Android apps. Aptoide is free to download and extremely easy to install. The reason why Aptoide is so commonly used is because it allows users to choose best apps from multiple stores. The application directory available on Aptoide is created by fans and users, therefore the apps mentioned are confirmed to work.
Another way of downloading Android apps on Blackberry 10 is through Snap. It is basically an application which allows users to search for apps on the Google Play Store. Users can search for an application by name and Snap would automatically redirect them to the Google Play Store. However the drawback of Snap is that it shows paid applications in search results but Blackberry users cannot purchase Android apps. Also, Snap has to be sideloaded onto the Blackberry.
Blackberry 10 users can also use APK-DL to download an Android application of their choice. Unlike other options, users do not need to download an application or software if they use APK-DL website. All what users need to do is search for an app on the website and download the APK file of the required Android application.
1Mobile has also proven to be a useful source when it comes to installing Android apps on Blackberry. The biggest advantage of using 1Mobile is that it scans the Blackberry to detect the currently installed APK (Android) files, and then notifies if an update is available of one (or more) Android apps.
It should be noted that since Blackberry phones are not officially approved Android devices, they are not recognized by Google and so sometimes you may see a message complaining that Google Play Services is missing, but most of the time you can just bypass this and the app will work fine.
These applications and websites make it easier for Blackberry users to partake in the Android experience, while still working within the Blackberry environment. I really love it, and I am getting so I prefer typing on my Blackberry Q10 even more than on a laptop. I support Blackberry and it’s fun to flick apps around in their OS. The messaging interface is really intuitive. As long as they keep making physical keyboard phones I’ll be a fan.