BlackBerry keeps on surprising me with its larger support for their Android runtime. They just announced on their blog that there are some crazy nice changes coming in OS 10.2.1 for the Android runtime. The main event is that BlackBerry 10 will support Android Native code. This means developers can use native C and C++ code and libraries using the recommeded headers from BlackBerry. They have also added support for MapView v1 using OpenStreetMaps with MapView v2 coming soon.
In short this means even more apps AND games will be coming from Android to BlackBerry 10. Anyone else seeing a big shift here? Here are the details:
Beginning in BlackBerry 10.2.1, increased compatibility improvements will now include:
- Android Native Support: Android apps that use shared libraries written in native-code, such as C and C++, will now be supported on BlackBerry 10. Support is limited to the recommended system headers and APIs as documented by Google. Headers and APIs outside this scope may not function correctly.
- Bluetooth: Android applications using Android Bluetooth APIs will now work on BlackBerry 10. Bluetooth Low Energy for Android is planned to be supported in a future OS release. As a reminder, Bluetooth LE is supported in the BlackBerry 10 Native/Cascades SDK.
- MapView v1: Applications that use MapView from Google Maps v1 API are now supported using OpenStreetMaps. Support for MapView v2 API is being planned for a future release.
- Share Framework: Android applications that register with the share framework in Android will now also appear as share targets on the BlackBerry 10 share menu.
- Spellcheck: Applications that use text input can now leverage support for spell checking and correction, and the ability to add words to the BlackBerry 10 dictionary.
With the addition of all these new APIs, support for a greater range of ported Android applications will be possible. If you’ve been waiting for some of these features for your application, the wait is almost over! A BlackBerry 10.2.1 SDK OS will be arriving soon and you’ll be able to start testing and submitting your application to BlackBerry World!
In addition to all these new features and APIs, a new Beta release of the BlackBerry Tools for Android development will also be coming soon. This release will not only include support for these new features (no more warnings for features now supported) but will also include any bug fixes from the previous beta.
Make sure to check out the Android Runtime roadmap for all the details and keep checking back for availability.