BlackBerry Android runtime to be upgraded to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean

Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
By Bla1ze on 5 Feb 2013 05:45 am EST

One personal gripe I've had with the Android runtime on BlackBerry 10 and the BlackBerry PlayBook is the fact that it's stull running Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread. While I understand why this was done, I was wondering if BlackBerry would ever be updating the runtime environment to support newer versions of Android.

As it turns out and as was announced at BlackBerry Jam Europe, BlackBerry will be updating the Android runtime eventually to support Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. That's good news for developers looking to port Android apps and end users who will be using them as it will provide a much better overall experience when using the ported Android apps.

Reader comments

BlackBerry Android runtime to be upgraded to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean


I agree, in my company, when we say TBD it means we don't have specific plan yet and we haven't mark it "in progress". It just simply means this is just an idea but we are sure we are doing this in the near future.

In mobility, we've adapted the language of Biological systems when we talk about ecosystems - so further adapting language from that area - is BB10 as a concept the first real example we have of Parasitism?


A close a association of dissimilar (highly secure/highly insecure) organisms.

Seems more of an apt analogy.



First of all I am tired of seeing words that should only be used for the animal kingdom like Ecosystem and DNA, embedded into virtually every business article I see today. So now you suggest a new word (yes I know you are saying this sarcastically to have yet another dig at bb)? Ok why not add another brainless word to our business dictionary?

Next time someone asks me: "what is your business DNA?".
My answer will be:
"My business Deoxyribonucleic acid is to develop a great parasitic ecosystem like VMware, Xen and Wine on my new mobile device."

Virtual players and Virtual machines are nothing new. It is only good business to try and give your customers as many legacy apps as possible to satisfy what the public thinks they need. Every analyst seems to think apps play a large role in what makes a mobile phone. Most Apps are legacy and old fashioned. I don't know why people can be perfectly happy running a thin version of facebook or a banking application on their desktop or laptop but they need a legacy fat app on their phone which needs to be written separately for every mobile OS. Most mobile browsers today are on par with desktop browsers. Blackberry knows this and they know the future is thin for most apps except the most device intensive apps (like games) or apps which work offline (like evernote). So why invest too much in getting so many of these useless native apps into blackberry when they will go away soon enough when the public wises up. Its not parasitic, its called evolutionary.

Will these upgrades be free? I'm interested in buying a playbook but I want the latest of functions. I'm trying to wait for the 4G playbook but it doesn't really matter because I'm around free wifi all the time.

Absolutely, yes. Software upgrades have been free on PlayBook since the beginning, even with the major 2.0 and 2.1 updates. Updating the Android runtime is less profound in terms of overall user interface and OS features, but brings huge potential in terms of app compatibility.

Holy catfish! What does this mean for BB10 ported and side-loadable apps? Better compatibility, greater selection?

This is amazing news for BB10. Even though it is not something we have never thought of, but to present it at such a critical time... :) BlackBerry is rocking this!

Well hopefully BBRY gets around to releasing a beta version of PB OS with the new android engine, at that point my PB will become less of a door stopper and more of a tablet device. :)

If it makes it to our phones by year's end or next year then we'll still be ahead of the actual Android phones who don't have Jellybean on them yet.

OK, have we heard anything about the PlayBook's emigration into BB10? A runtime update would be welcomed on the devices which have been using it the most, and now I'm afraid that my PB is going to be ignored until they finally decide to bring us up to speed.

This needs to stop NOW.

BlackBerry does not need another 10,000 badly ported Android apps running in an odd environment with different OS interface elements. It needs 100 killer apps natively developed; Instagram, Netflix, Spotify, BBC iPlayer.

Hope to see this sooner vs later. Could open the floodgates to more and much better android ports.

Going to pick up my z10 in a couple of hours. So excited!!

This is terrible. I don't want ports on bb10. I want the experience native apps give. There's a reason all of the reviews call the 3rd party apps sub par. Most of them are ports that just removed what wouldn't work. This is a huge corner to be cutting. BlackBerry world is going to be flooded with un optimized shit.

Simple ports of some apps are very welcome because there will never be a native BB app made as the niche is too small. Take, for example, the Radio Thermostat app (to control a thermostat over wifi). There is an iTunes app and Android app. I can't see them making a BB app as the market is so small but if the Android app can be ported, I can use the app on my BB. It is a pretty basic app so it should port easily, but the convenience it provides is tremendous.

Great news shame they dont know when yet also they will concentrate on Q10 now and prob do less for Z10 so will probably be a while I would love this to use temple run finally !

Heh. There are so many caveats and get-out-of-jail-free words in that statement that it just becomes meaningless PR.

"working through the details...", "the goal is...", "evaluate new features for inclusion".

And no timeline for any of those already vague activities is given.

Meaningless statement aimed at giving a warm feeling to the masses.

It's just a more long-winded version of "soon".

Good news. For all who complain about badly ported apps, there are some that work great, too. There is no native XBMC remote for BB10 (not yet anyway), for example, but the Android port works great.

I'll be welcoming the jellybean runtime update. Then I'll get a launcher for my playbook and fool people... :D

I do not understand any of this technical stuff, sorry i just use the Playbook. Does this mean I will be able to access the Google App Market or will the playbook still be a lame duck in the world of tablets?????????

I have two serious Android apps on my Playbook. One is CacheSense, there the original developer (who made it for the much larger Android market) actively did the conversion for the Playbook and supports it very well. The other one is Kindle from Amazon, this was converted by someone else and I found it on that web site we all know. Both apps work surprisingly well for me. I personally don't see why I should insist on a native app at any cost. I rather have these apps working fine (even though their usability is slightly different) than wait forever for native apps.

PS: On my new Z10 I found Kindle officially in the Blackberry world. Amazon apparently also found they can simply repackage it and it will work just fine. However, they only marked it as compatible with BB10 and not for the Playbook, that's why the Playbook still doesn't see it and I needed to sideload it onto it. But it runs equally well.