Install Android apps on BlackBerry 10 with Snap

Who I am
Llu铆s Enric Mayans
@lluisenricmayans
Author and references

The BlackBerry OS 10 is often criticized for its meager store of applications, in particular lacking big names like Instagram, Snapchat or the King games (Candy Crush and others). However, the latest smartphones from the Canadian are compatible with Android applications. How to install them? Follow the leader...



Preamble

The Blackberry World, the application store of the Canadian manufacturer, currently has just over 100 applications. A ridiculous figure compared to 000 million from the Android Play Store or 1,4 million from the App Store on iOS. Admittedly, with the Passport and version 1,2 of BB10.3, the Amazon App Shop has been implemented on the terminals, adding its 10 applications to those of BlackBerry, but it is still anecdotal. Frustrating even.

Because you have to know that the Android Runtime - that is to say what allows a smartphone to run an application of the Google OS - has been present for a long time on phones running BB10. In the early days, loading an Android application on a BlackBerry required time and especially some development knowledge. Supported by an active community of users, the procedure has evolved rapidly. The arrival of version 10.2 of the Canadian system brought real progress, namely the support for applications built for Android 4.3.



We then went from a phase of porting Android to BB10 tedious, and often successful, to simplified procedures and functional applications. The latest version of BB10 (10.3), currently available on the Passport and Classic, was another big step forward. The arrival of the Play Store has long been the subject of fantasies for BlackBerry users and it is ultimately the Amazon App Shop that appeared preinstalled on devices. Above all, the installation of APK files (Android application format) is now done without going through the BAR (BlackBerry format).

Installation de Snap

Snap is an app that relies on the Play Store API and offers more or less the same services as Google's virtual store, only for apps. As of this writing, Snap is version 2.0.0.2 and a version 3.0 beta is also available. The latter brings an improvement in the display, more ergonomic, as well as new features.

To start, you need to download the Snap app. The phone must be on the same network as the computer you are working from. Once these things are done, it is necessary to activate the development mode of the terminal. Go to Settings, Security and Privacy then Development mode. 

Just activate the slider at the top right. We are then asked to enter a password which makes it possible to secure the processes; write it down, it will be useful later. Note also the IP address found in Settings, About and then in the Network tab, IPv4.

[link src="https://dyw7ncnq1en5l.cloudfront.net/article/1997/snap2.jpg"]

[/link]

[link src="https://dyw7ncnq1en5l.cloudfront.net/article/1997/snap3.jpg"]


[/link]

There are several ways to load an app on the phone. Here we are using a simple and efficient Google Chrome browser extension. In Chrome, you have to go to the Extensions page. The one that interests us is called BB10 / PlayBook App Manager. Click on "Free" then in the pop-up that appears on "Add".


This opens the extension page for us. We fill in the "Device hostname" field with the IP address we wrote down, then we click on Save. A Manage your device line appears under which your phone IP address is located. Click on it.

[link src="https://dyw7ncnq1en5l.cloudfront.net/article/1997/snap6.jpg"]

[/link]

You should now see a warning window indicating that hackers are attacking us. You click on Advanced settings then "Continue to the site ...".

[link src="https://dyw7ncnq1en5l.cloudfront.net/article/1997/snap7.jpg"]

[/link]

A new page asks for the password chosen for the development mode. Once entered, you arrive on a page that lists all the applications on the phone.

You must then drag the Snap file, downloaded previously, into the window. The installation should begin automatically, with its progress visible in the upper left corner of the window. When completed, a pleasant "Success" should appear and the Snap icon should appear on the phone.


Using Snap

You must enter your Google credentials the first time you launch the app. An account is obviously necessary to be able to download applications from the Play Store.

Install an app

Once you have chosen an application, you face an interface extremely similar to that of the Play Store. Tap Download. When the download is complete, click on the Open Installer button that appears.

[link src="https://dyw7ncnq1en5l.cloudfront.net/article/1997/snap13.jpg"]

[/link]

This takes you to an installation screen reminding us that BlackBerry tolerates the installation of Android applications, but avoids any complications that may arise subsequently. Blackberry Guardian still systematically initiates a security inspection. You can then click on Install.


[link src="https://dyw7ncnq1en5l.cloudfront.net/article/1997/snap14.jpg"]

[/link]

Halfway through the progress of the installation bar, you need to accept or deny the application access to certain data. A refusal will not prevent the installation, unlike use which will be impossible as long as these parameters have not been accepted.

Updates and downloads

Version 3 is only in beta, but it is fully functional. In addition, its interface is much nicer than that of V2. On either side, you access the menu via the icon at the bottom left. Home takes you to the app store, My Apps allows you to manage installed apps and updates.

[link src="https://dyw7ncnq1en5l.cloudfront.net/article/1997/snap15.jpg"]

[/link]

By sliding your finger down from the top of the screen, you access downloads and settings. In these, you can choose the desired Google account, clear the cache and check for updates. To install these, no need to go through the initial installation step again, the update is done directly in the application. 

[link src="https://dyw7ncnq1en5l.cloudfront.net/article/1997/snap16.jpg"]

[/link]

add a comment of Install Android apps on BlackBerry 10 with Snap
Comment sent successfully! We will review it in the next few hours.