BlackBerry’s latest smartphones may run BlackBerry software, but they also include built-in support for Android apps. The only catch is that developers need to submit those apps to BlackBerry for inclusion in the company’s BlackBerry App World — and since most developers haven’t bothered to do that, most of the apps you can run on an Android phone aren’t available for a handset like the BlackBerry Z10, Z30, or Q10.

You know what would change that? Support for the Google Play Store. If you could run Google’s app store on a BlackBerry phone, you’d have access to about a million apps.

As unlikely as the move sounds, there’s evidence that BlackBerry may be working on doing just that.

Update: BlackBerry says it ain’t happening.

BlackBerry with Google Play Store

CrackBerry forum member AVPTI discovered images of a BlackBerry Z10 smartphone with the Google Play Store and the BlackBerry OS 10.2 operating system.

It’s not clear if the images show software that’s being tested by BlackBerry developers or if they’ve been doctored in some way. Even if the photos are real, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the software will ever see the light of day — BlackBerry will need Google’s approval if the company wants to include the Play Store on its devices.

But if the implementation is handled properly, it’s theoretically possible that Google could give BlackBerry the go-ahead, and that could provide a bit of a lifeline to BlackBerry.

The company’s struggled to keep up with its peers in the smartphone space over the past few years, and has struggled to raise money and find a leadership team that can help keep BlackBerry relevant.

BlackBerry with Google Play Store

Including support for most Android apps on a phone that’s not actually running Android could offer the best of both worlds for BlackBerry: It can still use its own mobile operating system, communications and security software to help set it apart from the competition. But it doesn’t need to have the same kind of user base as Android or iOS to attract developers — because developers can just create Android apps and know that they’ll be available for BlackBerry devices as well.

Of course this is all hypothetical until BlackBerry confirms or denies the authenticity of those leaked photos.

via Phone Arena


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9 replies on “Google Play Store coming to BlackBerry OS phones? (Update: maybe not)”

  1. After examining BB10 OS, I can honestly say that the BB10 OS is better to my opinion then the android platform. it has the flexibility android offers with a security iOS gives. If they will resolve the Apps issue using Play or encourage Android Developers to release their apps to the BB App Store (with no conversion or any special effort), I think they can be relevant again.
    I also think, that they have some work in the GUI and UX but it is not so bad as it is today.

  2. That would help BB10 sell, especially with OSes like Tizen and Sailfish coming out that have Android app compatibility.

  3. Google will never allow it. Being as how they only allow Gapps on approved devices, they aren’t going to allow it on a device which doesn’t forefill the most basic prerequisite:- running Android!

    Doesn’t stop people sideloading it though.

  4. I was waiting for Blackberry phones to just run Android. It’s essentially waving the white flag early and focusing on just maintaining the Blackberry brand and keeping it profitable, rather than to struggle for relevance until the name is laughable (if it isn’t already).

    But as long as Blackberry will run its own Android app store, Google will never let Blackberry users have any official Google apps–including access to the Google Play store.

    See this article for more details:

      1. That is true. And although that might help Blackberry users get some apps that they would not have previously had available, it will not give them access to Google apps.

        And as other pages of the ArsTechnica article I mentioned explain, Google is luring developers to integrate their apps into Google Play services–which will cause significant porting issues, should they choose to add their app to the Blackberry Android app store (or however which way Blackberry swings that effort).

        1. I think you misunderstood Brads comment. I don’t think he meant that BB could use the Sammy app store, rather that Sammy phones come with their own app store yet are still allowed to carry the Gapps, of which the Play store is one.

      2. While Samsung has its own Android app store along with Google Play, they can’t include Play on their Android-compatible Tizen devices. Alibaba and Amazon both introduced forks of Android, app-compatible but without the Google APIs, whose SDK prohibits their use on incompatible versions of Android. They don’t have Google Play, and without major changes they never will.

        Blackberry makes Aliyun and Amazon’s Kindle OS look like AOSP in comparison. The only way they’ll get Google Play is if users find and install it on their own, or if, in the ultimate act of humiliation, Blackberry is forced to start shipping full-on Android devices with a Blackberry skin (like Samsung’s Touchwiz or HTC’s Sense) to stay alive.

        I bet Amazon won’t mind if their app store gets installed on Blackberry devices, though, and as far as Android app stores go, they’re #2. Appbrain might be another option, though I don’t know if their installer works without Google services installed.

        While Andrew was wrong in his presumption that Google won’t allow Play to be included if another app store is, Google does prohibit the inclusion of Play (and other Google apps) on devices that it deems to be “not Android”. Blackberry currently falls into that category.

  5. Best option to save their OS (in my opinion). BB10 is very good but needs apps. This would solve the problem. It may be too late, but maybe not.

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