We had already known that BlackBerry 10 was going to have support for Android apps, however the runtime support had previously been limited to an older version of Android. In fact, it has been limited to Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread. The good news is that BlackBerry has recently confirmed an update is in the works.
So far we have yet to learn exactly when this update will take place, however BlackBerry has noted that they are currently working to bring up a newer version of Android Runtime for BlackBerry 10. By newer, they are looking at Android 4.1 Jelly Bean with a goal to be able to “support all current features and APIs available on the Android Runtime platform today.” Furthermore, looking towards the future, it was said that they will also continue to evaluate new features and APIs.
This by itself should be good news for users as well as developers looking to port their apps. Speaking of porting apps, previous reports have said that BlackBerry 10 will be launching with approximately 28,000 repackaged Android apps. We remain a bit skeptical on how well these apps will perform given what we have heard about the repackaging. For example, the Android apps are said to be a direct port with a switch that remaps the menu and back buttons to BB10 gestures.
Alternatively, while we are skeptical, this does appear to be a good start. After all, much of the talk of success and failure of mobile operating systems these days seems hinged on available apps. The key here will likely also come down to how quickly BlackBerry can make this happen. Right now we are looking at a “TBD” date and still seeing iffy language such as talk of how BlackBerry is “still working throughout the details and full scope.”