BlackBerry is rolling out a software update that’s designed to offer users new features and customization options… but it also makes it a bit easier to pretend your BlackBerry smartphone is an Android device. That’s because BlackBerry OS 10.2.1 allows you to install Android APK files using a web browser or file manager.

BlackBerry OS 10.2.1

While BlackBerry has supported Android apps since the launch of the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, up until now developers have had to convert their Android apps to a BAR file and upload them to the App World for distribution. Now you can install many apps the same way you would on an Android phone or tablet that doesn’t have access to the Google Play Store.

Heck, you can even install the Amazon Appstore or another third party marketplace that makes finding and installing Android apps simple.

The update also brings better support for Android apps: they can now access Bluetooth APIs, Maps, and other features.

Other updates in BlackBerry OS 10.2.1 include:

  • New phone dialer that lets you silence or send a reply with a swipe
  • Support for SMS and email groups
  • Tap to open messages from the lock screen notification
  • Picture password unlock
  • Customize the quick settings menu
  • Save web pages for offline reading
  • Automatic software updates when connected to WiFI
  • FM radio on select devices (BlackBerry Z30, Q10, or Q5)

You can read more about the update and the new features it brings in BlackBerry’s press release.

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9 replies on “BlackBerry OS 10.2.1 launches, makes installing Android apps easier”

  1. can anyone tell me so BB z10 can download instagram now ? i would like to choose this phone =)

  2. Can someone please help me. When I try to install an apk it just goes to the processing screen and never changes. Any idea why it does that. I have the latest software z10

  3. I really hope Blackberry can pull themselves out of this nosedive. I’ve never been a fan of Blackberry, but I have friends who are. More options are always better.

    This might make the phone more attractive to technologically savvy people, but this isn’t going to help the average user. Start saying words like “sideload” and “APK” and their eyes glaze over. They need to cut a deal with someone so an Android app store is preloaded, and Blackberry gets a cut of the profit from the app sales.

    1. Well said.
      I was a BB user for years waited until I couldn’t take having no access to good apps and a antiquated os jumped onto android about 2 years ago and haven’t looked back I wish they would get it together because as you said “more is better”

    2. so true. BB phones are great except for its inaccessibility in android market. I am also a fan of BB and deciding to shift to android. Hope BB developers will solve this. Don’t be too exclusive, many people wants simplicity. 🙂

  4. Are this third party app store available in a markets ?like in a third world country.

  5. When they fire sale these phones I am going to pick one up. I like BB OS but apps have always been a big problem. If most Android apps work that would push me over the edge.

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