Blackberry has fallen behind Microsoft’s Windows Phone in the sale charts. But both these operating systems, fall far behind Android and iOS in terms of market share. The biggest challenge for a new mobile operating system is to come out with a rich app ecosystem environment. Advertising a large number of compatible app number sells, and with both Android and iOS fast approaching the 1 million app mark, BlackBerry and WIndows Phone do not look all that inviting. Windows Phone has about 145,000 available apps, and BlackBerry 10 has about 120,000 available apps.
One advantage BlackBerry was supposed to have was the ability to run Android apps. Back when it released its QNX operating system for its Playbook tablet, tools were released which would allow developers to easily port Android 2.3.3 apps to QNX. With the release of BlackBerry 10 for the company’s new Z10 and Q10 smartphones, BlackBerry carried over this compatibility with Android 2.3.3 “Gingerbread” apps. The Android 2.3.3 application program interface is getting a bit long in the tooth though, and the delay in updating the tools for Android API compatibility led to some speculation that BlackBerry was going to abandon Android app compatibility. The speculation was apparently wrong.
BlackBerry has released the Beta BlackBerry Runtime for Android Apps and Plug-in for Android Development Tools for BlackBerry 10.2. The leap from Gingerbread API to the Android 4.2.2, Jelly Bean API, is a huge step. All the features available in Gingerbread continue to be supported, with specific Jelly Bean OS features such as Fragments, embedded fragments, animation framework and hardware acceleration being added.
This is a smart move for Blackberry. With four major smartphone operating systems in the market, most developers only develop for Android and iOS. Making it easier to port Android apps to BlackBerry 10 should entice more Android developers to test BlackBerry waters. At present, Android 2.3.3 apps account for about 20% of the apps available for BlackBerry 10.
Source: Android Police