Sideloading made easy with the PlayBook App Manager Browser Plugin

By DJ Reyes on 10 Dec 2012 12:17 pm EST
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We have already covered a few ways to sideload your favourite apps onto you BlackBerry PlayBook here on CrackBerry, both for Mac and PC but some people are not too comfortable with command prompts. That's where the PlayBook App Manager Browser Plugin comes in. 

Developed by a member of our forums, CrackOp, PlayBook App Manager makes sideloading app onto your PlayBook as easy as dragging and dropping the .BAR file into a web interface. It's fast, it's easy, you'll be sideloading in no time. 

Let's go through the process step-by-step. For this how-to we shall be using the Chrome browser. 

Step 1 - Install the plugin

You can get the Chrome extension from the Chrome Webstore. Add it to Chrome and you're all set. You'll see that once the extension has been added to Chrome a webpage pops up. Bookmark this page! This is the page you will load in the future to access your PlayBook to sideload apps.

PlayBook App Manager Pop-up - Don't forget to bookmark this page!

Step 2 - Add your PlayBook IP Address

To be able to access your PlayBook from the Extension, you will need to add the IP Address. In order to do this you need to put your PlayBook into Development Mode. You can do this by going to Options->Security->Development Mode. If you don't have a password set on your PlayBook you will be prompted to create one in order to use Development Mode.

PlayBook Development Mode

Once you have Development Mode turned on, go back to the Homescreen an tap the 'man' looking icon with gear looking icon on his chest. This will then give you your IP address.

Finding your PlayBook IP Address

Enter this IP Address into the PlayBook App Manager web interface. Note: If you will a USB cable for sideloading you may have two IP Addresses showing, if you also have your Wifi turned on. The first IP Address is the USB one.

Adding your IP Address to PlayBook App Manager

You can add multiple IP Address if you have more than one PlayBook. When you have added your IP Address(es), hit Save and you will see the IP Address added below in the Mange Your Devices section.

Step 3 - Access your PlayBook

In the Manage Your Devices section in the bottom right corner of PlayBook App Manager, click on the IP Address of the PlayBook you wish to access. The very first to load the page every browser session, you will receive an SSL error, go ahead and click Proceed Anyway.

SSL Error

You will then be prompted to enter your PlayBook password. Enter your password and then Login. You will then be presented with a page off all your installed PlayBook Applications.

PlayBook App Manager Login

PlayBook App Manager web interface

Step 4 - Drag and drop the .BAR files you want to install

On the webpage you'll notice in the top right corner a section that says Install Apps. This is the area you will be dragging and dropping your .BAR files to sideload the onto your PlayBook. In our forums, we have a growing list of Android apps that have been converted but you'll no doubt have some that you want to install already.

Drag and drop area

Bring up the folder contain those .BAR files and just drag the .BAR file up to the top right corner. You can add more than one file to the queue. They will just install one after the other. The install progress will be shown in the top left corner, so you will know when the file has been successful. Once all apps have installed, just click on Refresh list and your newly sideload apps will appear. You can even launch it from within the webpage.

Installing progress shows in the top left corner

You can add more apps into the queue

There you go folks. A simple and easy way to sideload apps onto your BlackBerry PlayBook. You can also check out the video above it you want to see a walkthrough on the whole process too. Let us know in the comments how you get on or if you use other methods of sideload apps onto your PlayBook. You can also visit our forums and maybe give props to the creator of the plugin.

Read more about the creator of the PlayBook App Manager web browser plugin
Discuss more in the CrackBerry Forums

Reader comments

Sideloading made easy with the PlayBook App Manager Browser Plugin

91 Comments

Brilliant. Been using it with Mountain Lion on home wifi (192.168.x.x) for a couple of months too. AND it works on Ubuntu Linux using Chromium browser. None of this JRE stuff needed.
The IP to use is the one shown when you tap the Dev Mode icon on Playbook screen bar.

Thanks for letting us know about this DJ. I have always used DDPB to sideload apps, and it has worked fine. I tried this as soon as I saw your post, actually even before your video had finished. It works great. I tried the WiFi install for my first try. The first attempt failed but the second attempt worked just fine. I like the ability to launch and terminate the apps via WiFi as well. I can see using this for remote installs for friends that are less than proficient with all things techie.

I use DDPB and it's super simple. Plus, I don't need Google and it's privacy spying Chrome browser.

This does look great though, props to the dev.

Sorry if I have to rain on your day but I don't think SideLoading should be available to the general public as it hurts RIMs sales from their AppStore. SideLoading is another form of software piracy when you think of it, soon or later you could be held accountable.

:)

I've bought plenty of apps from App World. The apps that I have sideloaded are not available on App World. The way to increase sales of apps in App World is to actually HAVE the apps in App World. Having said that, there are literally hundreds of totally free apps available for the Android platform that have been converted to bar files and can easily be installed on the PlayBook. It's an incredibly powerful selling feature of the PlayBook that immediately increases the number of apps available to the device. The new Android engine that runs more than just one Android app, and much, much faster only improves this experience.

This very explanation has convinced four people that were skeptical into actually buying PlayBooks. I look at a happy PlayBook user as a very potential BB10 user. Perhaps you should reconsider your opinion.

Side loading is not another form of software piracy. Just because the RIM application store does not get a pay off does not mean BP owners can't install freeware onto their tablets.

Yes it could get to a problem with the RIM store if they don't get allot more relevant content on their sight. But the problem is with the store not the users.

Why would I want to go through all these steps to side load if I could just use the App store to get what I need for a couple of bucks? As its so easy to repost android apps, way isn't RIM getting to done?

Software piracy? OK - fine.

All I can say is sue me.

Let's go to trial then. I "pirated" and app that is available for free to anyone with an android phone. Then I used said app to frequent a business or view advertising. I'm confused. Where are the damages?

Good luck with your suit.

legally speaking, free stuff doesnt mean its free of, or exempt from copyrights, trademarks, creative commons licenses and other legal standings.

from the legal standpoint nobody would try and touch you though, unless your were distributing other peoples wares (free or paid) as that would be more severe.

As for my view on it? well if i was an android dev, and someone had already converted my app, and it didnt run right and people used it and had issues, then you`ve damaged my reputation before iv even entered the market. so thats not helping anyone in the long term cos i prob wouldnt go there.

Additionally from a personaly standpoint i have (and so have others) made free themes that i have put in the forums, suddenly you find them hosted on other websites (not linked back, actually hosting the app files) where no credit is given to you as a dev. Like i said, iv had that happen to me, and its not a `oooh people are using my app` experience, its more `what right do they have to take credit for my work`.

I'm not sure if you've used side-loading before, but it is legal AND permitted by RIM. So long as you're not installing apps that cost money that you did not pay for, and/or sharing paid apps with others, it does not hurt the developers or RIM. In addition, like all user-directed fiddling, it's "use at your own risk" so if something were to happen with your PlayBook after side-loading, then it's on you.

Side-loading is not a form of piracy and in fact, it's an important tool for developers so that they can test their apps. You can't be "held accountable" for something that RIM openly supports. Now rooting (or in the PlayBook's case, "dingleberry-ing") is another story.

So everyone wants to have developer on board for BB10 and CB publishs an article how to deceive these developers. Brillant!. Well Done! (Sarcasm)

Huh? How is this deceiving developers?? You must be implying that these are stolen .bar files. I don't see how you could possibly know that.

CrackBerry and its forum users only condone the use of FREE apps available on Android or the PlayBook OS (this process can be used to install native PlayBook apps not found in App World). So... yeah, I have no idea what you're talking about.

so we only want/care about devs with paid apps, screw the free ones, we can convert them ourselves? errrrr no.

That's not what said. The poster spoke about undermining dev's efforts. A dev that provides a free Playbook app has no concern over people side-loading their app because there would be no need for it, unless RIM decided not to list it in App World. In such a case, the devs are the ones that typically PROVIDE the free .bar to side-load to begin with. So no, I'm not just saying we should only care about devs with paid apps, but when it comes to the poster's original point, that's what I was responding to.

With regards to disgrunted Android devs with free apps, yes there is a potential for tarnished reputation, IF somebody were to convert their .apk file to .bar and submit it to App World on their behalf (which has happened, of example with Wikipedia). However, if I'm an individual, interested in a particular app DESIGNED for the Android OS, and consciously choose to convert said app OR purposely download the converted app from CrackBerry's forum links, and then install it on my OWN PlayBook, where exactly would I turn around and blame the original dev for a crappy app experience? PlayBook users that don't have enough knowledge/experience with side-loading to know where the apps come from are typically not going to perform a side-load, so I'm pretty sure the reputations of both free and paid app devs are safe in this case.

bottom line - if you alter a .apk to be a .bar and its not your file, then your altering someone elses work, which if copyrighted, trademarked etc is illegal.

claiming `self use only` doesnt make it any less illegal.

Well yes, I suppose that's true. Yet, how would a dev pursue a cease order on an individual putting the app on their own PlayBook? In addition, why are there several websites available offering (free) converted apps without (from what I can tell) any backlash from the original Android devs?

as an individual, they`d never know, much like most people torrenting.

as for sites, well i guess the dev would have to actively look at the site to be able to tell. as i said earlier in these posts, someone ripped my free themes and hosted them on their website, it wasnt until another forum user told me that i found out.

As a dev, you'd know better than me. I didn't think that Android devs would care if their apps were converted to another device (especially if nobody bothers them about it), but I do understand that they might be upset if somebody altered their property without their permission.

If Amazon/Blackberry had had the decency to put a copy of the Kindle reader in the app store I would not have had to waste the time sideloading it. All of the apps I have sideloaded are Android apps that don't have an equivalent available in the app store (where, incidentally, I've already spent a significant amount of money).

+1 - except the NYtimes app. I pay good money for the digital subscription, but they back out of BlackBerry support and are too lazy to post a converted android version which works perfectly well and you can download for free.

I actually use the Cloud Reader for the Playbook through the browser. If you create a bookmark shortcut in your dock or app drawer, the browser will open the cloud reader even when you don't have an internet connection. And their cloud reader site saves the books to your tablet for offline reading. I love it because I'm not frozen on some incredibly old version of the Android software. On top of that it opens way quicker and is far more reliable. The only problem is you have to read in portrait mode. If you switch to landscape or open in landscape it gets screwed up. But just close the browser and click on the bookmark again to fix it.

I'm never sideloading the Android Kindle app again.

Damn, thank you for this! I went and downloaded a bunch of .Bar files and installed away..sweet!

Is this just for Chrome? I don't use Chrome, and the steps above didn't entice me. I use DDPB, and it's fast and simple. No need to change for this that I can see.

The creator has also said that it can be used in Firefox. Since Chrome is my main browser, the How-To was made for that. You may see a Firefox walkthrough too.

And when is coming BB 10 to the BB PlayBook BTW?! They say that is going to be sooner than the phones!!

No-one has ever said that at all. BB10 will be available for PlayBooks after the phones are released. I would expect late spring to early summer myself.

What exactly is the magnificent benefit of side-loading? I've looked at over 200 .bar files and haven't seen a single thing that I'm "missing out" on

Then don't load any. It's simple, no-one is forcing you to sideload anything onto your PlayBook. Many users, myself included, sideload apps onto their own PlayBooks. This has zero effect on your PlayBook, and you can continue to not load anything on your device.

Sometimes the world is a wonderful place.

No piracy in my home and I've been side loading since day one. There is always a debbie downer lurking...always.

I kinda prefer this to the DDPB method. So straightforward and effortless..no need for connection cables too (cos i already lost mine)

$120+ more and can't tinker with rooting or side loading android apps. Where is the fun in that?
Not like the nexus can do anything better than the playbook.

dang from the title i thought i could do it from the playbook browser. if i still need to use a laptop then i might as well use DDPB. thanks for the effort though!

I"ve been using oBarLoad on my Mac and it seems to be quite straightforward and works pretty well each time.

So all i have to do is download these "bar files" which are esentially the app files. They could be any android bar file thats available online (legal free ones). Then do this app manager, select the bar file to install, and thats how i run android apps. After im done i can open it like any app on my pb. Is that correct

I can't get Chrome to install this plug-in; after hitting the "add to Chrome" button it downloads the CRX package and the button indicates "checking...", but nothing happens. I tried disabling pop-ups and my Xmarks extension to no effect. Probably something to do with my work firewall; guess I won't be using this facility any time soon.

Dave

New to sideloading. Just tried this method. Was easy and worked seemlessly! Just sideloaded the Nook app and it works smoothly. Great work and THANK YOU!!

i have mine all set up but when i input the password it says wrong passwrod i know it is not wrong so any fix for this?

I was using My PlayBook Mini Keyboard and the Caps Look became ingaged causing me to enter the wrong Password I entered "blackberry" and notice that it was all Capital Letters. Dah!

I am getting this error:

SSL connection error
Unable to make a secure connection to the server. This may be a problem with the server, or it may be requiring a client authentication certificate that you don't have.
Error 107 (net::ERR_SSL_PROTOCOL_ERROR): SSL protocol error.

I must be an idiot...i spent oa hour getting everything installed, letter by lette, even id it on a second laptop so i could follow it along, and did it exactly as told, yet when I restart my PB and load look at the screen, none of the stuff I installed appears...ever...maybe BB10 is worth the wait...

Seams like all sideloading on BlackBerry devices is not working at the moment. Based on the comments I have been finding online its been down for at least a few day.....

It worked for me during the last 2 hours, and im soooo freaking happy that my playbook has new life. My wife has already ditched hers for an ipad mini. i just installed 21 bar files

Jeez; DDPB works and is smooth, so why bother? I found my mind drifting trying to follow the steps to get this browser plug-in working. Seriously, try DDPB first if you haven't already.

Wow! Every since I got my playbook I have been toying with sideloading but was put off as I couldn't find clear instructions easily. Thanks to this brilliant app manager and these clear step by step instructions I now have a perfectly working amazon Kindle app on my playbook and I am a very happy bunny! Thank you to all involved!

Hi,
This is so easy for a novice like me!! Have my kindle app now!! thanks a lot for the clear instructions.

I have an easier way. Go out and buy a Samsung Galaxy Tab2 7.0 like I did and get the real thing. No muss no fuss with bar files.

Wow. this is easy. It took a few minutes to walk through the steps. Then a few more minutes to find a source of bar files. But after that, this is basically as easy as using the App Store. And it is very fast to load the files from my computer to the Playbook.
I'm just using it to download free apps. I figure the developers want as many users as they can get, so there is no harm with this work around. Besides I have all these Apps on other devices.

Hi,
Sorry if this has already been answered, but is it possible to sideload Skype onto the PlayBook?
Anyone tried and were successful? Thanks :)

Helllppppp please. I do not know what I am not doing right but after I add my playbook IP address and save it, I click on the device. However, I cannot get past the security warning. There is no option to "proceed anyway". What do I do?

Hi DJ, thanks for this step by step guide. When I get to step 3, I get a webpage not available message... I am using a Z10, connected via USB with wifi off. I have put it in developer mode and entered the ip address as shown... any help would be gratefully received...

hype....
can tanyone tell me...where to find this .BAR file
or....maybe uguys have a link that provide trusted .BAR file (updated)

i bought my z10 last monday....so, kinda freshie here....tq

The apps still don't appear on my playbook home screen. I have to load them through force via the chrome browser. This is ridiculous, I'm so disappointed with this playbook.

I am stuck at Step 3 - Access your PlayBook
It keeps displaying "Retrieve list of installed apps from BB10 / PlayBook device ..." over and over again. It disappears then goes back to my log In.

Any suggestions as to why this is happening?
Thank,

my playbook is not loading it just keep on loading on my development adress and does not redirect to the final site :( hel please!

FYI, this works on Linux (Lubuntu, have not yet tested on other distros). As well it should, as it's browser based.

Just Bought a Playbook, this is just AMAZIIIIIIIING!!! Exactly what I was looking for, had issues with DDPB on Windows 8. this just fixed everything

i can't get past the stage where i access the IP through chrome.
Could never get DDPB to work, so disappointed :(
any suggestions? i have followed everything perfectly, but chrome just says "This webpage is not available" when i try and load

Funny, I downloaded nearly 12 hours ago. Seemed to work fine. Now I just keep getting this web page is not available when i click IP address link

can someone post a link of where i can download android apps that will work on this? I'm trying to get snap chat and don't know why i cannot (i am using a macbook pro and it will not open)

I successfully side loaded using App manager usb and wifi, also using ddpb sideload. before i applied these bar files. I notice a video showing this process and the user did not have to select an app launcher to open the apps. would you tell me how i would set up the device to do the same.