How to use the Android App Player to Load Apps on your BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0

By DJ Reyes on 11 Mar 2012 03:57 pm EDT
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One of the most anticipated features of BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 was the Android Player, allowing you to load your favorite apps on Android. When PlayBook OS 2.0 was released, one of the first questions posed was "Where is the Android Player?". Many were looking for the app icon that would launch the Android Player and many ended up disappointed to see there wasn't one.

Rest assured however, there is an Android Player on your PlayBook running OS 2.0. It is not a separate app, it is an emulator that launches when you load any Android apps repackaged to run on the PlayBook. There are a handful of these apps that can be downloaded from BlackBerry App World.

You can't instantly tell whether the app you've download is a repackaged Android app. The only way you'll know is when you load an Android app, you'll find that it loads differently to native apps and you'll find the screen will briefly say "Initializing, Please Wait....". This is the Android emulator where all your Android apps will load.

Android Player on PlayBook initialising

Once that app has loaded, it will look like any native app, however if you swipe down from the top to reveal the option for that particular app, you will also be presented with another bar along the bottom of the screen. This bar can be toggled to stay locked on the screen or to only load when you swipe down. The bar contains a back arrow to go back one page as well as the six most recently loaded Android apps, this allows you to load any of the other apps quite quickly.

Android Player bottom bar

Many developers are slowly getting around to repackaging their apps for the PlayBook. While most favourites are currently missing, like eBay, Words with Friends, IMDb, to name a few, these can be sideloaded on to your PlayBook by following a few instructions. This can be achieved both on Windows machines and on a Mac.

Check out the video above for a quick run through on using and loading Android apps of your PlayBook OS 2.0. Visit the forums to discuss more on Android apps for your BlackBerry PlayBook.

24 comments

acrogenesis

Interesting didn't know i could do that with my playbook :O

1959gazza

Can we have a list of all the available android apps please.

junaidiy

You can check android apps for PlayBook at goodereader.com

dfb8085

Can we go to the goodereader site from our pb and download the apps straight to our pb without having to put them on our pc first?

gomikochar

No, there is no such option (yet!). Just use DDPBInstaller application for Windows to sideload them from your computer.

rodh64

I wish people when making a little video so as to demonstrate something or other would practice a few times before doing so. Shaky camera and "oops" doesn't help either. Also...don't mumble! I learned nothing from this.

koool1

Most sideload apps suck. Nice to have but I want native apps!

catwoman66

They do unfortunately, are slow and crash, disappointing to say the least..

MattM2G#CB

Have to disagree. I was hesitant at first, but then sideloaded one, then another, and another. I have Words with friends, Kindle, games, USA Today, etc and about 12 others and the Good E Reader app that is basically an App store for sideloaded apps than have been tested and run just as well as the native apps. No crashing, no issues, no battery drain.

When I 1st did it i was losing battery like crazy, but now that I know to swipe back or use the back arrow out of the apps, my battery last 2 days with moderate use and I have the best of both worlds app wise!!

mkye86

So words with friends never crashes on you (especially when playing a blank tile)? Kindle never logs you out and have to constantly logging back in when you open the app (not every time, but more than desired)?

garrett1972

I've experimented with sideloading right from OS2 beta and have tried dozens of android apps. Most worked quite well! I avoided ones that people gave poor ratings, so I've really liked the experience. I even feel my sideloaded Overdrive worked better than the official version out now. Some do perform better officially (Angry Birds) but some seem identical (Cut the Rope).

CDM76

Dear CrackBerry:. PLEASE standardize that when taking video of feature on phone or PB that the item on s laying flat on a sold surface (ie. Table) this will make the video cam focus easier and make the video easier to watch as you t will be less shaky. This was not the first video with this problem but hopefully will be the last. I had to stop watching as the shake was making me dizzy.

gravymonster

I seriously don't get why they left the "back" swipe to only being an android feature. I love doing this. I wish I could do it in regular playbook apps. Especially the web browser.

Alex_Hong

+1. Agreed. The back swipe could replace the standard back button on the tradition BlackBerry. It would create a standardized way of going back a page in an app. instead of different apps having it on different places in a screen.

Barredbard

It was a lovely thought, but hasn't worked as well as hoped. All my Android apps have significant problems. Sometimes the player freezes, and nothing short of rebooting will restore it. Other times the apps are sluggish, like my Playbook has swallowed something it cannot digest.

Still, the best thing to come out of it is the Kindle app which works the best out of all my Android apps, and which is also subject to the problems described above, albeit with a lesser frequency. Ah well. better to have it than not.

AfroZepher

Sideloading pretty much kills all multitasking capability of the playbook. ..

mandony

You can side-load and run one Android app and also multitask several other RIM PB OS appWorld apps and native bridge apps.

rickkel

I simply don't believe those who have sideloaded Words With Friends don't have any problems with it. They must never use the chat feature and have never gotten a "wild" blank tile. Both features, if used, crash the app and you either get an error message or you freeze and have to reboot the PlayBook. I will be quite happy when the app is official.

ffejrobins30

I've had issues with it acting like this on several occasions. I've been using it since the developer beta, so I've become used to it and have noticed the the frequency of crashes are far less now with the official version. Hopefully, it can only get better...

rolltide78

Any of you experience the Android app "player" to just hang sometimes where you even have to restart the PB entirely to get it back? It also sometimes appear sluggish. If so, are there certain apps that are causing this and so are there certain apps to avoid? It's to the point where sometimes it's not worth the trouble to try. Let me know if you care to. Thanks.

willm

I started playing with side-loading just this past Friday and I'm loving it! Granted, I'm only three days in, but the things I've loaded are working great. Now, If I could just get OneNote...

screamlordbyron

Amen. I would love it if a Playbook compatible version of OneNote would appear (whether native or Android). That would be a true killer app for me. :)

mkye86

Since 2.0 has come out. There has been a lot of videos showing off the same features.. I have seen about 3 remote bridge videos, 2 How to use email videos etc. etc... Is this being done purposefully, or does there seem to be some disorganization between the bloggers?

Alexyyz

So now I know what keeps crashing. I thought it was the PB's app platform for all apps.