BlackBerry updates Android runtime with support for native code, Bluetooth, spellchecking, and more

BlackBerry updates Android runtime with support for native code, Bluetooth, spellchecking, and more

BlackBerry today released Android Runtime for BlackBerry 10.2.1, featuring a slew of new features. The was announced on November 13 (two days ago) and released on November 15. The release notes are here and the previous article from November 13 follows below.

BlackBerry today announced what developers and users can expect in the next Android runtime update for BlackBerry 10. Both highly-requested features and APIs are “arriving soon” as part of a BlackBerry 10.2.1 SDK OS release for developers, the company promises.

More specifically, BlackBerry 10.2.1 will feature the following increased compatibility improvements:

  • 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.

Developers will see the benefits of these additions first, and they’ll be able to test and submit their new apps to BlackBerry World. Once that happens, BlackBerry users will start being able to benefit as well.

For those who don’t know, the BlackBerry Runtime for Android apps (or just Android Runtime for short) lets you run Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2 apps on the BlackBerry 10 operating system. While the process isn’t seamless (developers must first repackage their Android apps to a BAR file, the file format required by BlackBerry 10 OS), it certainly speeds up the app porting process from Android to BlackBerry.

Top Image Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

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