One of the cool things from PlayBook OS 2.0 was that it brought about the ability to run Android apps on the BlackBerry PlayBook. However, it got quite annoying if you needed to run a few Android ported apps at the same time as they would all run in the same window, making it hard for you to jump between them. With BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.1 dropping yesterday, the update now allows for Android apps to run in their own window, making it a lot easier to go between them if you needed to.
Now that the apps open in a new their own window, you will no longer see all the previously opened ones along the bottom bar. You can still swipe left or right from the center of the bottom bezel to go back with the Android apps.
If you haven’t already, get your PlayBook update to v2.1 now. Don’t forget, BlackBerry Bridge was also updated bringing about a few cool features too.
Check out the video above for a quick demo of the Android apps running in their own window.
One of the most anticipated features of BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 was the Android Player, allowing you to load your favorite apps on Android. When PlayBook OS 2.0 was released, one of the first questions posed was “Where is the Android Player?”. Many were looking for the app icon that would launch the Android Player and many ended up disappointed to see there wasn’t one.
Rest assured however, there is an Android Player on your PlayBook running OS 2.0. It is not a separate app, it is an emulator that launches when you load any Android apps repackaged to run on the PlayBook. There are a handful of these apps that can be downloaded from BlackBerry App World.
You can’t instantly tell whether the app you’ve download is a repackaged Android app. The only way you’ll know is when you load an Android app, you’ll find that it loads differently to native apps and you’ll find the screen will briefly say “Initializing, Please Wait….”. This is the Android emulator where all your Android apps will load.
Once that app has loaded, it will look like any native app, however if you swipe down from the top to reveal the option for that particular app, you will also be presented with another bar along the bottom of the screen. This bar can be toggled to stay locked on the screen or to only load when you swipe down. The bar contains a back arrow to go back one page as well as the six most recently loaded Android apps, this allows you to load any of the other apps quite quickly.
Android Player bottom bar
Many developers are slowly getting around to repackaging their apps for the PlayBook. While most favourites are currently missing, like eBay, Words with Friends, IMDb, to name a few, these can be sideloaded on to your PlayBook by following a few instructions. This can be achieved both on Windows machines and on a Mac.
Check out the video above for a quick run through on using and loading Android apps of your PlayBook OS 2.0. Visit the forums to discuss more on Android apps for your BlackBerry PlayBook.