The ability to install apps Over-the-air (OTA) on legacy BlackBerry devices was easy. All you needed was a link to the .jad file and you'd be done. Unfortunately, this is something you cannot do on your BlackBerry 10 device. Instead, you have to resort to connecting your BlackBerry via USB cable or WiFi to your machine and sideload the file.
This can be inconvenient at times but a developer has created a way for you to be able to install .BAR files OTA to your BlackBerry 10 smartphone from the web browser. There's a bit of setting up to do before anything else but once complete you can be on your way to installing files on to go.
First of all you need to create an account over on barinstall.com. Once you have an account. You have to add a device. You can add a total of two devices, so helpful if you're rocking both a Z10 and a Q10. Would be great to add a third device in the form of my PlayBook. You then have to set your BlackBerry 10 smartphone with some VPN settings. You would only need to use the VPN connection whenever you want to install something OTA. When you have that setup you can get going with installing your .BAR files. However, because everything is handled but the barinstall.com website, it becomes a two-step process. You first have to upload the .BAR to your account in on barinstall.com and then install from there.
As I mentioned though, before you hit install you have to remember to connect to the VPN you setup and also turn on Development Mode. You do get errors if you don't have it turned on. As far as installing goes, it is pretty straightforward. You get a progress bar, so you know how far a long the installation you are. There is also a progress list on your account so you can see all installs (successful or not) that you have done. You also have a list of all the files you have uploaded too. Along with this you have a list of all the .BAR files you have uploaded.
Barinstall.com doesn't stop there though. It also allows you to install a debug token and even convert .APK files to .BAR files. To install debug tokens, you will need to upload your signing keys. This means, only you can use the files that you have converted. When it comes to converting .APK files, you have two options. You can upload .APK files you may have found on the internet, then convert them or you can login to your Google Play account via barinstall.com. The latter requires some setting up and you will need to provide an Android device ID too. So, it may be too much for some.
Being able to do this directly from your BlackBerry smartphone is obviously extremely convenient. Having said that, the service barinstall.com provides isn't free. It is subscription based - $2.99 a month. There is free account available. The free account allows you to create debug tokens and convert .APK files but you cant' install files OTA. You can still upload .BAR files and you get 256MB of space to store them but you won't be able to install them. You'll have to get the premium account, paying $2.99 a month to be able to do that. A premium account also comes with 8GB for storage for uploaded .BAR files.
So, why bother with it then?
When an email landed in my inbox about barinstall.com, I was quite excited, the prospect of being to install OTA was certainly needed. But when I saw the $2.99 subscription, it did make me think about the kinds of people who would benefit from this. Starting with myself, being a blogger. I review many apps for CrackBerry and quite a few times I am provided a .BAR file by the developer to make things easier for me (I eventually purchase the app after my reviews anyway). It's not too hard to sideload the app, especially when I'm seated at my machine, I can quickly install it. There are times though when I'm not sitting at a desk and all I have is my BlackBerry device. Having barinstall.com, I can download the file, then upload it to the site and install it without having to wait until I get home. I could at least check out the app almost immediately.
On top of that maintaining a VPN server doesn't come cheap. And if you compare the pricing here to other places, you'll find it's a fair price.
It can also help those who do a lot of beta testing of BlackBerry 10 apps. Developers do tend to make testing versions available quite frequently and this is a convenient way of being to install once you get notification of an update available.
For regular folk, by that I mean those who just want to sideload occasionally, I don't see any point in the subscription. You may want to look at a free account to convert .APK files from your device on the go though.
One thing to also note is this will not work if you're running OS 10.2 or 10.1.0.4xxx.
You can check out the video above of the install process. It a pretty simple process once you have everything setup.