Old school BlackBerry fans will remember the days when you used to be able to download app install files over the air. Before BlackBerry World, it was the only way to install apps on the go unless you wanted to pull out a laptop and use BlackBerry Desktop Manager.
With the arrival of BlackBerry 10 though, that function was stripped from users and now, folks looking to install apps must either sideload or use BlackBerry World. That's not to say it can't be accomplished though and while we've seen one app already offer OTA installs of BAR files, another entrant has now arrived by way of an app called SideSwype.
- What Is It? - SideSwype is a Native BlackBerry 10 application, which when coupled with our included VPN services, allows you to effortlessly install BlackBerry BAR files or Android APK files to your device without the need for a computer. This installing of applications or games outside of BlackBerry World is known as "sideloading" and until now tied you to your computer. Not any more.
- How Does It Work? - When you install the SideSwype application, you're walked through setting up the VPN connection. It's simple! This is what allows SideSwype to work and install your applications or games Over The Air (OTA). SideSwype can be used over your mobile network or over WiFi.
- Why Do I Need It? - With BlackBerry 10, BlackBerry has done away with the traditional Over The Air (OTA) installations we used to see. We want to fix that. You shouldn't be tied to a specific marketplace. We're great for developers too; gone are the days of your beta testers needing a PC to load that latest build! With SideSwype, anyone can sideload from anywhere without the need for a PC!
The app itself is free to download but in order to make use of it, you essentially have to purchase 'app install credits' which is a fine format for selling them in my opinion. The pricing for credits is as follows: 10 Install Credits: $0.99, 25 Install Credits: $2.99, 60 Install Credits: $4.99. If you're a heavy sideloader, it makes sense to just go all in and buy 60 install credits in one shot. Plus, you get two free install credits to try it all out.
Having been a part of the beta testing, I have to say I'm quite pleased with the app and overall, for what you get and the convenience of it all it's pretty impressive. Aside from a few beta bugs, everything went fine and I was installing BAR files and converting a few APK's as quite literally as I walked down the street. Of course, that's not to say it's perfect. You still have to have some knowledge of sideloading, as even the app itself does need to be sideloaded to install.
Personally, using this method of installing apps makes using the desktop seem totally useless to me and I'll likely never bother with that again but, I suppose it all comes down to how much sideloading you do. If you find yourself doing a lot of sideloading, then this is certainly an option that's worth investing in but if you only find yourself sideloading a few app here and there, it might not be worth it. If you're looking for more info, I suggest heading over the SideSwype site for all the details and the FAQ section.