BlackBerry 10.2 to bring Android Jelly Bean Apps

It’s good news for BlackBerry smartphone users – the Canadian company has announced that its BlackBerry 10 handsets will have access to Android Jelly Bean apps when it rolls out its 10.2 software update later this year.

The update will support versions of apps for the latest iteration of Google’s mobile platform, Android 4.2.2, seeing the likes of top applications such as Snapchat and Candy Crush Saga available to side-load on devices running BlackBerry 10 such as the flagship BlackBerry Z10.

Announced via its developer blog, the firm said: “Do you like candy? How about a big bowl of jelly beans? Well I’m happy to satisfy your sweet tooth with the beta release of the BlackBerry Runtime for Android Apps and Plug-in for Android Development Tools for BlackBerry 10.2.”

The Z10, Q10 and Q5 are currently limited to apps on Android Gingerbread and earlier, which are now more than three years old, so the update will be a welcome addition to the Android Runtime Plug-in.

Although the BlackBerry 10 OS is growing in popularity, and with the recent Q10 boosting the company’s sales, there is still a shortage of some big name apps, compared to the Android and iOS platforms.

BlackBerry World currently houses more than 120,000 applications, but a recent study by Canalys has reported that only 36 out of the 200 top free and paid Google Play and App Store apps are available to BlackBerry users.

Tim Shepherd, Canalys senior analyst, said: “These stats underscore the scale of the job BlackBerry faces in its respective bid to build up its app ecosystem, to deliver more compelling and genuinely competitive offerings.

“BlackBerry customers do not want to miss out on apps from important and relevant brands, or the latest games, because of their choice of smartphone. It’s imperative that BlackBerry’s app ecosystem attracts and offers high-quality content that consumers want and would otherwise miss.”

Having faced criticism for some time about the lack of content across the BlackBerry 10 platform, the new update will give users the option to side-load apps for Android 4.2.2 as well as all other previous versions, which encompasses pretty much all of the Android arsenal.

BlackBerry World is currently home to apps such as Facebook and Twitter, along with the cross-platform messaging app, WhatsApp and location-based social networking tool FourSquare.

A large majority of consumers seek out cheap mobile contracts but still expect to have access to the latest features, games and downloads. The update should therefore give BlackBerry users the chance to experience apps such as video-clip enabler Vine and video-calling app Skype, along with smartphone favourite Instagram.

With research showing that BlackBerry devices account for just 0.7% of all smartphones sold in the US and only 2.9% of the global market share, the 10.2 update is a sure-fire way for the manufacturer to keep users interested in its BlackBerry 10 platform and in turn keep its good fortunes coming.

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