Install files OTA on BlackBerry 10 with BarInstall

By DJ Reyes on 29 Jul 2013 10:17 pm EDT
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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.

For more information / Sign up to barinstall.com

45 comments

earth703

Wow! This is sweet!!! Like to check it out.

Posted via My BlackBerry Q10 - Powered by Globe Telecom Philippines

accuberryedwin

im going to definitely try this out asap

avatsaev

this is something that BB World web site should use to install apps directly on our devices from the website. Imagine how convenient it would be.

Huey Newton

Is there a way to cancel the subscription

BlackBerry z10

tinyhack

Yes, just go to the profile to cancel your subscription.

mjdimer

Isn't it easier to use the chrome plugin?

Posted via CB10

tinyhack

With chrome, you will still need your desktop. With barinstall, you can use your BB10 browser.

AfroZepher

So . . .the free account is pretty much useless. . . better off just getting rid of it and extending the free trial to a week or something. . .

tinyhack

Well, if you have localbar2 installed (and you have another device as a proxy), you can download APK from Google Play, convert with debug token, and install it using localbar2.

Everything can be done from your device, without going to PC to do the conversion.

It is also useful if you switch between many computers (office, laptop, desktop), so you don't need to setup a conversion tool in every computer that you use.

93Aero

http://forums.crackberry.com/showthread.php?t=826362

I see the developer must've tweeked somethings I'll give it another go.

Posted via CB10

Notcho

Is it working. Just tried side loading some apps today on Google Chrome and goodereader.com and didn't work. I don't have a computer so this would be very useful.

Posted via CB10

anonymous23005

All this is is a server based bar loader just like any of the other ones we all have used locally. Pretty obvious given the vpn requirement. The difference is it has a phone based ui, not much different that say the chrome loader which let's you load from a browser. I like this but I'd be a happier guy I'd they went with a service/software model like say WordPress or git comes to mind. Give me the option of just hosting this myself on my own network else I'll pay you if I'm too lazy to do so to use your service.

Posted via CB10

tinyhack

I have open sourced many of may apps (see: http://yohan.es/applications) and I am considering to make this open source in the future, but it takes quite a lot of time to clean this up to be usable by others.

anonymous23005

Also this might we worth a subscription if it hosted a repo of bars. Managing my own offers little incentive to use this. Basically like be the black markets that exist in android.

Posted via CB10

KermEd

The service costs are to offset the bandwidth. He's investigating freemium models - the challenge is not simple.

Advertisements aren't worth a darn and wouldn't cover any server costs.

With that said - this site IS from the guy who made localbar - and if you ever found it useful, donating a few bucks go try the VPN is a great deal for both parties. Fyi, try looking up VPN only costs - this is actually a great deal.

Posted via CB from my LE

tinyhack

I haven't had the time to finish my native LocalBar2, but KermEd here already ported my Playbook Version (thank you!!!). If you don't have a premium account for barinstall.com, the localbar for Z10 is a good complement for the free account: you create the debug token, convert the APK, then install it locally using localbar:

Here is the forum link:

http://forums.crackberry.com/blackberry-10-apps-f274/announcing-localbar...

Nigelbrown

I have had the idea of setting up a vpn to my home, so I could simply RDP to my pc, and remotely (as in not on my local network) installs bars.
Anyone tinkered with this?

Windows 7 vpn is a bit odd to set up...

Posted via CB10

kongee28

i know Yohanes Nugroho! He is the person who created an app called TinyController!

PanaSama

I was like oh sweet then:
"$2.99 price" - really?
" doesn't work on 10.2 or 10.1.0.4xxx" - forget it this is useless

Posted via CB10

tinyhack

Unfortunately Blackberry considers the installation via VPN to be a security hole and decided to plug it in the latest OS version :(, so there is nothing that I can do for now.

BruvvaPete

Some people won't even read that far. Some will polute the blog and raise hell as to why it doesn't work.

alimin

"doesn't work on 10.2 or 10.1.0.4xxx" and we just got MR update today 10.1.0.4537, should make it free insetad

tinyhack

Well, if I made the VPN free, the VPN installation still wont work with the device with the new OS, and the only features that will work are the APK converter/debug token generator (and that part is already free).

SCrid2000

And wouldn't cover your actual costs for maintaining the VPN.
I don't think people here understand that a VPN isn't free.

DJ Reyes

Thanks. I probably should have pointed that out in the post.

Posted via CB10

tinyhack

I just want to add that I have updated barinstall to support latest OS (including 10.2!),

vulfadli

This is neat. But 10.2 is just too awesome to downgrade :D

Posted via CB10

tinyhack

10.2 is supported now (as of 14 August 2013).

jdubinc

Why do we have to constantly pay for features and apps that other platforms offer for free?

Posted via CB10

DJ Reyes

What you're paying for is the VPN server. As many others have said, it's not cheap to maintain this

Posted via CB10

ofutur

Good review! :)
I don't understand this sentence though:
"The free account allows you to create debug tokens and convert .APK files but you install files OTA."

And interesting service, especially with all the Android goodies.

DJ Reyes

The word 'can't' was missing from that sentence. All fixed, thanks.

Posted via CB10

Asmooh

What's wrong with the chrome plugin? And that's free

Posted via CB10

DJ Reyes

There is nothing wrong with the Chrome Plugin. What BarInstall serves to do is let you install using your BlackBerry Web browser. With the Chrome Plugin, you still need a desktop machine.

Posted via CB10

meltbox360

WHY DIDNT I THINK OF THIS! Brilliant!

Posted via CB10

VeeVee10

I would have considered this had the MR release not come out today. Is a version that supports 10.1.4xxx and 10.2 in progress?

Posted via CB10

xsacha

Nope.
This is an exploit that RIM has let fly for a long time.
As soon as exploits becomes public, they patch it.

This will never work again.

Posted via CB10

tinyhack

Well, Yes and No.

I mean: No, the VPN hole will likely remain closed, and the current method will likely not to work.

But yes, I am looking at possible other methods (such as manual router port forwarding and automatic forwarding using NAT PMP).

tinyhack

It seems that I was wrong, the VPN hole is not fully closed and barinstall has been updated to support latest OS.

Winston Loh

Cool...this will be great for those brave ones who like to experiment new things...

Posted via CB10

bizdudePB

This worked great for me to install Netflix on my z10.

The dev told me how to load across to my other z10 (one for work (non BES), and one for home), using his localbar app, but I haven't tried it yet. Developer is very responsive.

Posted via CB10

allargon

Does this work on the Playbook. My wife's PB has that bad USB port problem. I could use this to get around the issue.

tinyhack

It works on playbook, you can give it a try.

Btw, you don't have to use USB to install apps, you can install apps via WIFI on your local network.