Sideloading Android Apps

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There are several ways of sideloading Android apps onto your BlackBerry 10 device.  Without going into the complexities of bug tokens, csj files, obtaining signatures from BlackBerry, converting APK files to BAR files, etc., I will show the easiest way of installing .bar files onto your BlackBerry device.  Please note that not all Android apps port properly.  Some work great – some do not work at all.  Some may work but not all functionality is there.  Some, it depends on what version you are trying to install.  So again, this is just showing you how to port an already converted Android app (APK to a BAR) onto your BlackBerry 10 smartphone.

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First step is to install Google Chrome Web Browser onto your PC if you don’t already have it.

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The next step is to add the PlayBook App Manager extension to your Google Chrome web browser.

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Click on ‘Customize and Control Google Chrome’ (three horizontal lines) in the upper right hand corner, then go down and select ‘Settings’New Picture (3)

You are now in the main settings menu of Google Chrome.  Click on the ‘Extensions’ link on the left hand side of the screen.

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Verify that PlayBook App Manager installed correctly and that it is Enabled.IMG_00000135

On your BlackBerry 10 device, swipe down from the top of the screen and select ‘Settings’IMG_00000136 

Next, select ‘Security and Privacy’

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The select ‘Development Mode’

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Turn Development Mode  to ‘ON’.  You will be prompted to enter a password.  If you have a password already set up on the phone, then use it.  If you do not, make a new one.  I suggest something easy to remember, and also make sure you write it down.  You will need it later.  Also, write down the IP Address that is showing on your screen.IMG_00000139   

The password screen

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Next, plug your BlackBerry 10 device into your PC using a USB cable.  When your computer recognizes the device, since we added a password, you will be prompted to put in your password.

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Open Google Chrome Web Browser.  There should be an icon to the right of the address bar (as shown above).  Click this icon to open the PlayBook App Manager.New Picture (4) 

Here, enter the IP Address from earlier, then click the IP Address link under ‘Manage your device’

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More than likely, you will see this screen.  I know it seems scary with the https:// crossed out, and the large yellow exclamation point warning of a security issue.  But it is safe, trust me.  So from here, click ‘Proceed Anyway’ to continue.New Picture (5) 

Here you will log into your BlackBerry 10 device.  Enter in your password, and click ‘Log In’New Picture (7) 

Now you should see all of the files located on your BlackBerry 10 device.  Here I want to warn, DO NOT DELETE ANY SYS FILES.  Please be careful when in this menu, because deleting (uninstalling) anything could cause your phone to not work properly, meaning a system restore.  So be careful.  Once you download some .BAR files, you can click the ‘Install App’ button.

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I like to get my .BAR files from goodereader.  The majority of apps here have been converted from Android APK files to BAR files, and have been tested to work.  I also like to download my own Android apps (APK files), convert them myself, and then install them.  But that will be another post to discuss that process.  New Picture (9) 

Find the app that you would like to install.  I am using Netflix as an example.  Click the ‘Download’ button to download the .bar file to your PC.  In most cases, the files will save in your Download folder.

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Back in the PlayBook App Manager, select the ‘Install App’ button and browse to the folder where your .bar file was saved.  Once found, select OK,  and you will see the Install of the files in the upper right hand corner.  If all goes well, when finished, you should see the words ‘success’.

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You should now see the app appear on your BlackBerry 10 home screen.  I want to stress here that this does not mean the app is guaranteed to work.  I’ve also found in some cases, that if the app does not work or start properly, a restart of my phone fixes it.

Now that you can sideload apps, AND if you are running a leaked 10.2 OS, I suggest heading over here to download and install the latest leaked Android Runtime .bar files.  This will fix (sometimes) ported Android apps that were not working properly.

Also, if you are not always at a PC but still need/want to install a ported app, I suggest downloading this app.  SideSwype is an app that allows you to install .bar files directly on your BlackBerry 10 device.  The catch with this app is 1) you need to install the app by sideloading the .bar file 2) the first two installs are free – anymore beyond that you need to purchase credits.  But it’s still there to use in case you need this as an option to port Android apps.