BlackBerry has been slowly, but determinately enhancing support for Android apps on their platform. While BlackBerry 10 was off to a slow start, the company has managed to move quite a few handsets based on the new platform. But there's more potential waiting to be unlocked. Currently, the flagship BlackBerry Z30 is running the latest version of the OS, which is BB10.2. Today, the Canadian company revealed some of the new features which will come along with the next major update to their platform, bumping the OS version number to 10.2.1.
It isn't a surprise that Android runtime is being hotly pursued by the company, given that their own App Store is incapable of competing with the world's best. While BlackBerry has officially denied that Google Play Store will ever be offered on its ecosystem, 3rd party Android app markets might soon find their way into BlackBerry World (in the form of apps).
For now, here's the complete BlackBerry 10.2.1 changelog:
- Android Native Support: Android apps that use shared libraries written in native-code, such as C and C++, will now be supported on BlackBerry 10
- Support is limited to the recommended system headers and APIs as documented by Google. Headers and APIs outside this scope may not function correctly.
- Bluetooth: Android applications using Android Bluetooth APIs will now work on BlackBerry 10. Bluetooth Low Energy for Android is planned to be supported in a future OS release. As a reminder, Bluetooth LE is supported in the BlackBerry 10 Native/Cascades SDK.
- MapView v1: Applications that use MapView from Google Maps v1 API are now supported using OpenStreetMaps. Support for MapView v2 API is being planned for a future release.
- Share Framework: Android applications that register with the share framework in Android will now also appear as share targets on the BlackBerry 10 share menu.
- Spellcheck: Applications that use text input can now leverage support for spell checking and correction, and the ability to add words to the BlackBerry 10 dictionary.