You may soon be able to load an APK on BlackBerry 10, right from the File Manager or Browser

By Adam Zeis on 12 Nov 2013 08:45 am EST
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So this is fun. As we dive deeper into the latest leaked OS, it seems that such a small update is bringing a slew of new features. We've posted up a batch already, but the latest and greatest finding is that you may actually be able to load an unconverted APK file to your BlackBerry 10 device without having to convert it first -- and you'll be able to do so right from the native File Manager.

As seen in the CrackBerry forums, the Netflix APK was loaded onto the device and then installed directly from the File Manager. No BAR conversion -- just tap and install. 

  

So this could be huge for BlackBerry 10 users. Netflix and Instagam both seem to be working using this method. BlackBerry stated that there isn't any planned support for Google Play on BB10, but we may soon have the option to load up any Android APK files just like that. Then again, just like sideloading, they may or may not work after installing. 

*UPDATE* So it looks like you can also install APK files directly on the device from the browser as well. Awesome!

So what are your thoughts? Awesome? Not so awesome? Hit up the comments and let us know!

Reader comments

You may soon be able to load an APK on BlackBerry 10, right from the File Manager or Browser

245 Comments

If you can install from File Manager then it stands to reason you'll be able to install from a browser download.

So provided the online app store doesn't require a registered Android device, and doesn't care about the User Agent header from the BlackBerry browser, it should be possible to download apps direct to the device.

Game changer perhaps?

By online app store, I guess you're referring to Google Play? Because in that case, you don't actually download apps to you computer from the Google Play website...instead when you click on Install, it sends a signal to your Android phone/tablet to download it directly from Google Play (much like how BlackBerry World web store works on BB10)

Google Play requires that your Android device be registered. And probably checks the phone type (based on information from the browser). So Google Play is unlikely to be usable - unless BlackBerry have some deal with Google.

Amazon web store on the other hand is a different question.

If you can download apps directly from Amazon that would be very cool and kills the whole app debate with BlackBerry forever.

You don't need amazon store or something else....just go to apkmania site the best site to download apk files and there you will find any android app you want just select what you want and download it then install it by app manager.....thats all about it.....old android user.....hehehe

Posted via CB10

And you don't need to buy a new phone, just steal yours.
Seriously, that is fine for free apps but not for paid ones.

Posted via CB10

If no computer is needed at all that's huge. The process has to be easier for the common folk who don't follow forums

Posted via CB10 on my z30

How much sense does it make to be able to load an apk file without sideloading or converting when we can't install a bar file without sideloading. Hmm....
This all has me pretty curious to see what BBRY has up its sleeve next.

If you can load with file manager... Wouldn't it be pretty easy to make an APP that filters only APK files in a particular folder.... maybe signs in to google play, via the browser... downloads the app, and installs it, with a couple touches...? I think a 3rd party app with access to the playstore, and APK files is approaching.

If you can load with file manager, you can load from the browser.

In other words download apk's direct from an app store. Just not Google from what BlackBerry are saying.

There are several app stores for Android. Amazon's probably being the best since they have great features for developers.

You don't need Google play...just go to apkmania the best site for apk files....and download what you want...then install using app manager....old android user

Posted via CB10

If apks can be installed from the File Manager, BlackBerry has obviously built some kind of wrapper code that deploys the apk directly as a bar file.

It seems the earlier rumours about Google Play were slightly off target. Evidently you'll be able to download apps as if they were on Google Play. Just not from Google Play (which requires a registered Android device). There are other app stores out there that are not as restrictive.

And if say the Amazon store is suddenly receiving millions of downloads from BlackBerry devices, maybe Google will change their rules.

U don't need stores....just visit apkmania site and you will find all androids apps in apk....download what u want and then install using app manager

Posted via CB10

This spells Good Reader E-Book as one of the websites hosting apk files.
Easily download from the websites and install.

Game changer indeed.

That's easy... just go to apkmania and any android app is there for free.... select what you want and download then install from the device app manager....you don't need amazon app store or something else....apkmana is the best site to download apk files

Posted via CB10

Seems to be an opportunity in the market for a competitor to googlePlay to serve all of the android forks + bb10.

Posted via CB10

Amazon has its own app store. I guess built for the Kindle Fire but usable on any Android device.

And since the app store app is just another apk it should be possible to download the Amazon app store to a BlackBerry and use it to install new Android apps.

But maybe I'm making too many assumptions. Either way, you should still be able to use the Amazon web store - which is almost as good.

It would definitely be a GREAT thing for BlackBerry users if this works! Fingers crossed as I don't even have the 10.2 OS yet because I'm STILL waiting on AT&T...

Really!!! I've had the official 10.2 for almost a month from my provider Telus in Canada. Why are the US providers so late to the game? Do any of the others have it? I'd be switching and make sure to let AT&T know why.

Zed10

No other US provider has 10.2. It's always carrier testing that either other countries don't do, or it just takes the US much longer to complete. Verizon didn't release 10.1 until August.

Posted via CB10

OR so they say....yet they don't have any carrier testing issues when it comes to Apple.

Also, BlackBerry made BB10 very modular so they could update without touching the radio file (what the carriers test on their networks) yet the carriers STILL refuse to let them update the phones by them selves, even if they don't change the radio file.

Posted via CB10

Well, I sure hope you get yours soon, because Verizon (my carrier) always waits for AT&T before releasing our updates.

I wonder if they could disable installing bars directly because if they did not. Maybe piracy will come aboard

Posted Via CB10. Z10STL100-2/10.2.0.1791

Android apps run in a secure Android container. And BlackBerry World will still be available for those who feel concerned about using Android apps.

The point is that no longer will haters be able to say there are no apps for BlackBerry (which isn't true but is a majority perception and is evidently used by carrier sales staff to persuade people to move away from BlackBerry) .

Only if you managed to steal a pay for app. If the app is being given away for free on an open platform, I don't see how it would be illegal.

Posted via CB10

If you download the APK from some repository that doesn't have rights to redistribute it (i.e. any repository), that's copyright infringement. Whether it's unethical you'll have to decide for yourself.

WRONG. The developers of these apps, even the free ones, never intended for their apps to be available anywhere but the Google Play Store. They signed an agreement with Google, and it is a copyright infringement to downlo0ad them elsewhere.

And for the record, MANY of the viruses and malware you hear about on Android are from these very websites that offer APK's for free. Someone downloads the original file for, say, Angry Birds, modifies it with god-knows what malware that tracks your keystrokes, and then puts the infected APK up on these websites that advertise "FREE APPS OMG!!" Then BOOM, you're infected and go around telling everyone how "insecure" Android is.

Browsing movies is painfully slow (only a very old version works).

That said -- one you find the movie you want, they play perfectly!

Posted via CB10

The average consumer does not want or care about this. They want to go to an app store, download and go. Simplicity and re liability is what sells.

Posted from BlackBerry Z10

The average consumer would since this process simplifies Sideloading and maximizes the power of QNX. Just find the android app and download it thru file manager then tap and load. Wow! This is something that if it actually arrives should be trumpeted from the rooftops. Look how easily the app gap closes!

Posted via CB10 via my Z10

Agreed. It's more of the same from BlackBerry - love the last sentence- may or may not work. This is not a game changer. Also- isn't this basically theft?

Posted via CB10

No more than doing the exact same thing on Android, or the BBOS. The ability to install a file that is free cannot be considered theft.

Negative Nelly. I'm sure it is legal and all above board. In any case, if I'm an android developer, I'll be sure to include BlackBerry, as that just increases exposure. As in an article I wrote a few years ago. Small pond, big fish.

BlackBerry Z10.

What's to stop someone from making an Built-for-BlackBerry app that allows users to browse Android APKs that have been certified to work?

This would make installing working Android apps so easy that even the dumbest of users could do it, and even enjoy it.

Posted via CB10

" They want to go to an app store, download and go. Simplicity and re liability is what sells."

That's exactly what they'll get. Just not from Google Play. They'd need to visit a different app store - for example Amazon.

And if BlackBerry have any sense they'd provide the Amazon app store app pre-installed on devices.

I'm not trying to be a downer. The last sentence says it all "may not work". And no, the average consumer does not pirate, nor do they do workarounds, sideloads....bb has a real app problem and while this is better than the status quo, it's not good enough.

Posted from BlackBerry Z10

How is this 'not good enough'? Because we don't have access to iOS apps? Virtually the entire Android catalog becomes available, but it's still not good enough, although it ostensibly solves the 'real app problem'?

First of all, it is not up to Blackberry what store they put on their devices. It is up to Amazon and Google, NEITHER of which have ANY incentive to allow access to their respective stores, NOR do they have arrangements with every one of these app developers to offer these apps to anyone but an Amazon customer and a Google customer.

Not. Gonna. Happen. And if it does, you can bet they will be sued by Google, Amazon and/or these developers for doing so.

No one is suggesting they add the app without permission!

I can't imagine why Amazon (or anyone else for that matter) would prevent BlackBerry from adding their store apps to millions of devices.

It's different for Google. Google refuses to allow Play to be used by anyone except those with an Android device. Especially in the latest Android versions, Google services are baked into Android devices so it becomes an issue.

But Amazon at least actually have a web store you can access from your browser and download apps directly. They don't prevent anyone from accessing their site.

Do you really think they'd have a problem if BlackBerry dropped a shortcut link icon to Amazons web store on the home screen?

Awesomeness! :) But,right now-before this update- is it possible to sideload a working netflix? Did not know that!

Posted via CB10

I've been using Netflix on my Z10 for a long time. Just checked and it's Build 1.8.0 build 561. No idea how current that is, but it works for me, and works awesome with microHDMI when I'm in hotels.

Does it have the Chromecast button on it? This would enable sending it your TV that a Google Chromecast dongle plugged in. It looks like a small square with a network emblem radiating from the bottom left. The current play store version is 3.0.2 build 1042.

No it doesn't. It is definitely an older version, but it works well, so I haven't messed with newer versions.

converting an apk to bar takes a few seconds, so i dont see the big deal in this. and since im on a mac and dont have a PC, i cant even sideload the most recent leaked OS for the bb. still sitting on v10.1 since the beginning of the year. i dont know. i love my bb, but something has to change with the insane lack of urgency of OS updates OTA, plus this app mess. its clear developers dont give a shit abt BB, and the fact that we have to take it into our own hands is insane.

Your problem is you have a mac, and don't have access to a PC. BB is smaller and leaner, and is focusing on its core users... The vast majority of the core have Windows based PCs.

Clipart, do yourself a favor and use sachesi method for mac to load 10.2 from a different carrier. It's not as hard as you think and is not a leaked version. It's an official version just not from your carrier.
I have mac and pc but still would never load a leak.
Sachesi is THE most easiest direct way to get 10.2 other than a ota update.
Or just search for "How To Get 10.2 update"

Posted via CB10

obviously not including you, but out of the hundreds of developers ive contacted to port over their app for BB blatantly expressed NO interest in doing so.

sachesi's method apparently doesnt work with parallels, which i have...so cant go through with it unfortunately.

still love my bb, but these things become frustrating after a while...

This is Samsung approach now. Use Google play, build their own app store and eventually switch over tizen.

Posted via CB10

this seemingly small update could be a major game changer for the BB10 ecosystem

lots of 'not' tech savvy folks would find BB10 is just what they need with this update

This is going to be a real game change, a this will make BlackBerry the real cross platform device .

It need to happen.

Posted via CB10

I'm Def excited about this but don't think it's a game changer if the average smart phone user can't figure it out. I still come across people who don't even know how to update an app on Ios app store.

Posted via CB10 on my z30

What if BlackBerry deployed Amazon app store on devices? That makes it no harder than any other download.

All these capabilities may be cool for tech savvy users but the general consumers don't know what apks and sideloading are. They expect the apps to be there.

Those people are also the ones that spend money and buy devices, which in the end make money for the company who makes the devices. At this point in time, BlackBerry isn't one of those companies. And no, I am not a troll, I have a Z10.

I understood. But my point was that there is no way to download an app outside of iTunes. BBRY and Android have pretty much always had this ability. So it's a returning functionality to the BlackBerry platform. Android users and BlackBerry users will on average be aware of this, whereas an iPhone user never would.

This isn't about sideloading.

If you can install from a file, you can install from the browser or any other app (because of the way BlackBerry invocation works).

This makes Android apk installation no harder than any other app.

This sounds brilliant - though I'm trying to be cautious and contain my enthusiasm.

Where do the apk files come from? Do I just buy an app from Google play - like Tomtom - and then download the apk to my sd card (or whatever) and then install and allow it to download maps?

That could be EPIC!

If that is how it works.

I'm not sold on getting apk files from random sites, how does one check if it's legit and untampered?

That said - if one can use Google play (signing in with an account) and just get the apk and go - that would make things really interesting!!!

Posted via CB10

If this is going to be the case, then why not just allow Android developers to upload their APK directly to BlackBerry World and have the installation streamlined to cut out the manual usage of File Manager? Now we're talking game changer.

This would make it easier for developers to see how much their app is getting downloaded and, as we have already seen, could be motivation for them to rebuild it with native tools after getting enough attention to justify the time to do so.

Posted via CB10

whats this in plain english, as I have 100 real estate agents who are ready to dump their Q10 which they love because they need some real estate Google apps to download, Will they have access to these apps ??

If this is doable at all, it should be doable (at least on a technical level) from within an update of BlackBerry World. Yes, it's a potential game changer.

Z10 STL100-1 / 10.2.0.424

This is a great middle ground but the effort required will still put off many users who just want to get the apps. If instagram and Netflix work well using these methods, then why not just list them in the blackberry world?

It's a shame that blackberry have taken so long for this feature to materialise.

There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Maybe it's not a good decision for long run, but now I think nothing is better than that. Built for Blackberry should go further in the future.

Posted via CB10

They should make a curated playstore available with the apps who works. Maybe BlackBerry should do an enterprise oriented store and associate with Google to have have the consumer store.

Sweet, there's plenty of sites where you can download. Apk's so it'll be a case of using those as an alternative to Google play. More choice is more chance.

Z10STL100-2/10.2.0.1803 O2 UK

U can without the Google play....just visit apkmania site and there you will find all the Android apps in apk files...download what you want and then install using app manager

Posted via CB10

I think this is huge news. This is the game changer. You can have the best is and hardware out there but with no echo system customers don't want to try it out. So give us the apps and this would be a great start in the right direction.

Posted via CB10

Of course the looming question is, at this rate of convergence, what does it mean for BlackBerry, for BlackBerry World, for a new strategic plan? Understanding these issues is critical to the future of the company.

Posted via CB10

And what about bar files. It will be cool if we can install also bar files just like that. I hate Android and i don't need any app from its

This is an amazing development!

If this is the case though, why would Google NOT allow BB10 devices access to Google Play? Isn't that the only way to purchase for-pay apps? Otherwise won't BB10 users be limited to free android apps, or piracy? Who does that benefit?

This helps, and I look forward to it, but the average consumer will have no idea how to find APK files. Most everyone I know, don't have a freaking clue what their devices are capable of.

Baby steps I guess, perhaps this first, then something better soon after .......I hope

CrackBerry could start hosting an app store of working Android apps of its own on its website.

There are sites like goodereader.com that already host converted .bar files so it's no huge leap to start hosting the original .apk files.

Posted via CB10

I kinda wish the potential piracy will... motivate android developers to at least port their app officially over!

Posted via CB10

Awesome! But it's not the solution to the app gap... However this should be a sign to developers that if their app files gets tons of downloads, a native bb10 app would well received

Posted via CB10

It will be great to install APK files direct without a PC, that will put BB10 on top of the Game, ha head of all the Giants...

Posted via CB10

So, this is what everybody thought was Google Play coming lol

It's a great improvement, but how about doing the same for .bar files too so that if BlackBerry World doesn't have the software you want but you have access to a .bar file, say for a beta version of a developer's app, you don't have to sideload and can download it with the browser to the phone instead then install it from there. It'll get us back to the unwalled garden that BBOS enjoyed where you could download BlackBerry apps from any website.

Too much of a risk from a maliciously coded .bar? Possibly, but aren't .apk files just as much of a risk when they have access to the data on your phone?

Posted via CB10

And then boot in the root,and then download the latest android version and then realize what I have in my hands is an android device?

We don’t care about Android apps, they don't flow like BlackBerry 10 native apps. Meaning they are not blazing fast.

You are now in my Bingo Book

Without amazon app store or something else....just visit apkmania site the best site to download apk files....you will find all what you want....just download the app you want...then install using app manager......it's so easy.....old android user

Posted via CB10

Damn this is awesome! What a superb capability! The only thing BlackBerry lacks is Apps! What a nice thing!!!!

Posted via CB10

Hmmm , so why develop for BB10 then????

Doubtful if this will go to Android developers being able to post to BBW. A slightly easier way too post Android apps won't help those who want simple access to the most popular apps the feel they need. They want a supported App available on the normal store not a work-around.

The solution to all of this is more BB10 phones in more hands. Then the developers will follow

I think most developers are NOT AGAINST having an app in Blackberry World... they just can't be bothered putting any resources into it.

Now that BB10 supports APKs, it could be just a case of getting permission (and I'm sure the Blackberry team knows how to contact them) before we have many more apps in the store. Right now it is only an assumption that we will have to rely on our browser for most of the apps.

I think this is the only way they can get people to buy their devices. While they have many of the popular applications, it is the plethora of applications from companies and stores that won't be written for OS10 that matters. With just a few million phones out there and doubts about if BB will be around, these companies are not going to invest in writing apps for the OS10. I am thinking here of things like stock brokers, banks, department stores, airlines, hotels, sports teams and so on who are writing their own applications for Android and Apple but not OS10.

My Z10 with the leaked OS is really working very well and the only complaint I have is the lack of applications such as those I mentioned. However, the Z10 as originally released was no where near the phone it is today with the leaked OS. BB just could not get their software act together and were a year later than their devices which were already two years late. In this technology business, being first is what counts not last.

So, with thid obvious software deficiency, they now want to be a software and services company!!! They better get some new management that knows how to motivate software guys and get things done - on time without bugs.

Can this be the solution to the "APP GAP" situation??? I can assure you that getting an app on your phone by any tap-and-install method will make many people very happy campers and none the wiser. Most will think that blackberry now has all these available apps! Especially if they come from an APK store. Who's up for creating that app?? heehee

This would be a really sweet addition! Especially for those who struggle with the side loading process.

Posted via CB10

A W E S O M E !

This may be a game changing feature for many Android users who fear losing beloved Apps.

My ZeeTen strikes again! (Z10STL100-3/10.1.0.2354)

It is funny how BlackBerry is playing coy here in regard to supporting this idea. It is a smart move, because it relieves onus on them if something goes a-muck with this whole thing.

Hmmm Coool!!. Now I can install apk from file manager, soon I will be connected to play store afterwards my BlackBerry will come as Blackdroid... son of BlackBerry and android... .

Posted via CB10

If BlackBerry is able to pull this off.... The app gap will be closed by the online app stores...
And then let the bb10 sales begin :)
Best of luck BlackBerry and implement this feature well and make it easy so that they'll buy BlackBerry for the security and the reliability of QNX :)

Posted via the awesome keyboard on Z10STL100-1/10.2.0.1791 using CB10 App

It's necessary to close the apps gap (currently), native BB10 apps though look much better and are always welcome.

Posted via CB10

I'm happy and welcome improvements, I would just like to see BlackBerry do things a lot quicker that's all.

Posted via CB10

I don't understand the importance of this over side loading. Will we be able to install more apps like Google Now? Or be able to sign into other Google apps? If not, then this new method of installing seems like no big deal

Posted via CB10

I am running 10.2.1.xxxx and it works great. I downloaded the good e-reader android app, which works very well, and have downloaded a number of further android apps.

Posted via CB10

There will be limitations with an app not written for BlackBerry, but overall I see this as a positive.

Posted via CB10

The question everyone wants answered us will instsgram work fully with new user creation. Will Android apps be able to bypass a device recognition code?

Posted via CB10

I love the idea that Blackberry remains independent yet allows us the availability of apps that they do not have in their apps store.

These are welcome improvements but I think there is more work needed here as well.

I think BlackBerry needs to form a team form Marty Mallicks team to collate the top 50 apps from every country/region and have the apk's available in BlackBerry World. They need to manage the apk's versions, have methods to deal with in-app purchases. ie: latest Viber update has the ability to purchase stickers in-app.

Last point is the security of such a system. Having the apps handled thru BlackBerry World will provide security and assurance to consumers that the apps are genuine. ie. Look at what happened with the phony BBM apps that turned up on Google Play.

That's what I think from a responsible point of view. I personally know that I win t have a problem finding the proper apk's etc. But I also see how ignorant normal people are to these things. I'm constantly fixing my family members computers etc because of viruses or malware that they have loaded by visiting websites and sharing USB drives. If these sort problems start occurring with BlackBerry Smartphones then there will be a real detriment to the BlackBerry brand for trust and security and Apple will be the one who will come out grinning in the end.

Hope BlackBerry will read this and take on board.

Thanks

Harry
Auckland, New Zealand

This would be cool if at least the apps would work, every time I sideload an android app is pretty much a flip coin on wether they will work properly, on my q10 I cant even log in to apps that ar sideloaded because special characters and numbers dont work with my keyboard, I dont know how to fix it and I have to use the copy and paste method.

Posted via CB10

Ohhhhh this is pretty interesting....my bf and I wouldn't have a hard time tranferring and converting the apps from our lappie or desktop to our phone

Posted via CB10

Still think a hard link between blackberry world and Google play would the most seamless way to do it.

Posted via CB10

If BlackBerry is going to officially implement this, the process has to be super easy & apps have to work the way supposed to work. No average smartphone users will hunt for apk files on the Internet nor accept the fact that not all apps works on their devices if BlackBerry is officially using this as selling point. Need to have access to some kind of app store which only hosts BB10 compatible apps.
But for CB addicts like us, it is great news.

Posted via CB10

It's all lie. I remember the last time i bought a playbook and hoping that rim will fulfill their promise about upgrading it to OS 10. And now what? They just abandon the project leaving the fans behind being ill feel. Blackberry was a company that won't hear a word even from their own loyal communities. I was truly dissapointed.

Very cool. Native apps are better, but I guess If developers see the demand for their apps, it'll help them justify developing native versions. This is definitely huge huge news. Woot woot!

Posted while peeking and flowing on my incredible Q10!

That's a great addition.
Android for games and farts.
Native for professional and security.

I'm at the opposite to those stating it'll kill developers.
It'll kill low priced or free apps for customers in the BBWorld and promote high price ones.
The kind of deal I was waiting for, as a developer.

Yeah, because that's EXACTLY what happened with the Playbook! </sarcasm>

You people are forgetting BB has already been through this sideloading BS with the Playbook, and all it did was kill native development further. Go read the Playbook forums. Post after post of people asking developers via Facebook and Twitter to port their apps to BBWorld, and the developers all said "no plans to support Blackberry... just try to sideload it... if it doesn't work, sorry."

Come on, just please make BlackBerry with OS android and this amazing virtual keyboard

Posted via CB10

Don't post rumours. Unless you can do it. Half the things being said are turning out to be rumors. Don't try to drive away developers from BlackBerry 10 platform.

Nice finally the piracy on the apps will arrive to BB10 OS!

Really not happy with it, just eliminate the restriction to install the bar must be fine, i like the messy android, but anyway many of you will be happy, i am not.

OK...so I've loaded 10.2.1 on my Z10, downloaded two .apk files...and the installer keeps stalling while installing.

Any thoughts?

IT WORKS GREAT, I just installed the 10.2.1 leaked OS and so far so good, I have installed and tested:
AHA \ Honda Link (Working perfect except Facebook integration)
Microsoft Lync 2013 (seems to be working)
Shazam (working as it should)
Viber (Have not tested)

I attempted to older method of side loading the bar files and nothing worked.

I now have everything I need on My Z10 and will no longer be 2nd guessing my decision to move away from Android and I-Phone.
I was never a BB user in the past and went with the Z10 because of the solid QNX OS.

Ian MacFarlane
Nova Networks

help me plz my blackberry q5 is formatting an restoring from 8 hours what can i do to speed it up :'(