BlackBerry 10.2 simulator launches with Android Jelly Bean support

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BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) released its BlackBerry 10.2 device simulator, introducing support for applications running Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android 4.2.2, a.k.a. Jelly Bean.

The simulator enables mobile software developers to trial and troubleshoot their applications against the fledgling BlackBerry 10.2 operating system, expected to reach consumers sometime later this year. "Android developers can now use Jelly Bean in the simulator," said BlackBerry Manager of Development Tools Daryl Martin. "Like most things in the simulator, Jelly Bean is Hardware Accelerated so you can enjoy the 60FPS goodness for your applications! This did require us to update our version of Mesa to 9.1.2, so there have been numerous improvements in our OpenGL support along the way."

In addition to Jelly Bean, the BlackBerry 10.2 simulator boasts support for Bluetooth pairing, introduces 3D views of a BlackBerry smartphone when simulating orientation in the controller, and incorporates the camera application, letting developers either take pictures of custom images injected into the viewfinder or use the default scrolling bars. "We are working on adding more camera features, such as injecting QR codes via the controller, so keep an eye out for future releases," Martin noted.

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 10, launched commercially earlier this year, has struggled to connect with consumers. BlackBerry smartphone sales slipped from 8 million in the second quarter of 2012 to 6.2 million in the most recent quarter, and its market share plummeted from 5.2 percent a year ago to just 2.7 percent, according to data from research firm Gartner. Earlier this week, BlackBerry announced its board of directors has formed a special committee to explore strategic alternatives, including a possible sale.

For more:
- read this BlackBerry Developer Blog post

Related articles:
BlackBerry 10.2 bringing support for Android Jelly Bean apps
BlackBerry dev chief Saunders: 'Users hate' BB10 apps ported from Android
BlackBerry: 20 percent of BB10 apps are Android ports
BlackBerry Messenger apps coming to iOS, Android this summer
BlackBerry 10 update boosts third-party app performance, video playback

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