BlackBerry 10.2 bringing support for Android Jelly Bean apps

Tools

BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) issued the beta release of its BlackBerry Runtime for Android Apps and Plug-in for Android Development Tools for BlackBerry 10.2, introducing support for applications running Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android 4.2.2, a.k.a. Jelly Bean.

"All the great features that were previously available in [Android 2.3] Gingerbread will continue to be supported, as well as some specific Jelly Bean OS features such as Fragments, embedded fragments, animation framework and hardware acceleration," explains Matt Whiteman, product manager for BlackBerry's Applications Platform & Tools Product Management team. "Keep in mind this is the first beta release, and there will bound to be some bugs as we work our way towards the gold release later in the summer. If you want to start testing your app on Jelly Bean, just grab the BlackBerry 10.2 Beta SDK OS.  Support for Jelly Bean in the BlackBerry 10.2 device simulator will be coming later in the summer."

The BlackBerry 10 software development kit, released late last year, introduced the BlackBerry Runtime for Android, an emulation engine enabling developers to repackage apps originally written for the Google OS in the span of about five minutes. Roughly 20 percent of all apps available for download from the BlackBerry World storefront are Android ports.

BlackBerry has nevertheless urged developers to build native applications optimized for BlackBerry 10, warning that consumers aggressively dislike BB10 apps and games ported over from Android. While most of the ports work on BlackBerry 10 smartphones, they can't access all core device features, and BlackBerry Development Head Alec Saunders recently told CNet that consumers are keenly aware of the difference. "From a commercial perspective, users hate them," Saunders said. "Our partners who have ported apps get dinged for them."

BlackBerry (formerly Research In Motion) unveiled BlackBerry 10 in late January. BlackBerry 10.1, the operating system's first point-release update, followed last month. The manufacturer has not yet announced when it expects to roll out BlackBerry 10.2 to consumers.

BlackBerry is looking to BB10 to resuscitate user interest in its platform: Research firm Kantar Worldpanel ComTech reports that BlackBerry devices accounted for just 0.7 percent of all smartphones sold in the U.S. during the three-month period ending in April 2013, far off the pace established by Android and Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone.

For more:
- read this Inside BlackBerry Developer Blog post

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