Android Apps on the BlackBerry Passport

Amazon Storefront on the BlackBerry Passport

Here’s the Amazon Appstore storefront running on the BlackBerry Passport. If I’m not mistaken, the Passport is the first device from BlackBerry to ship with Amazon on board; other BlackBerries got the Appstore via the 10.3 software update.

I myself am not a BlackBerry user, but I’ve been intrigued with the notion of running Android apps on that platform ever since official support was first announced last summer. Howard let me have a play with his locked-to-Bell Passport; here’s how it gets on with .apk files from Amazon.

BlackBerry Guardian on the BlackBerry Passport

For this informal test I chose the latest incarnation of Temple Run, one of the most popular game titles for Android and iOS. That Amazon also carries it means we’re off to a promising start.

What we’re looking at here is BB10’s disclaimer screen; if you unknowingly try to install malware on your device—from Amazon—then BlackBerry Guardian‘s got your back. You can also install a sideloaded .apk, or an Android package from any site. But  according to a BlackBerry rep who Howard and I spoke to, if you go this route you’re very much on your own.

App Permissions on the BlackBerry Passport

So BlackBerry is now better at spelling out Android app permissions than Google itself. That was unexpected.

Hold on a minute, does this mean that BB10 has a permissions manager…?!!

App Permission Details on the BlackBerry Passport

The good news: it does indeed. The bad news: it only works for native apps. The toggles on these permissions can’t be changed, unfortunately.

But enough with the settings and disclaimers… let’s play the damn game, already!

Temple Run 2 Splash Screen on the BlackBerry Passport

So this is a bad sign… Not only are you nagged to join Amazon’s GameCircle, but there are gobs of unused space on either side of the Passport’s 1440 x 1440 pixel screen.

Temple Run 2 Gameplay on the BlackBerry Passport

But once we get past the splash screen we’re in for another surprise—the game renders at full width, if not full screen. Gameplay seems every bit as good as on a native Android device; I am seriously impressed here!

Nimbuzz on the BlackBerry Passport

The only other thing you’ll have to deal with are the ads that besiege most “free” Android apps—like Nimbuzz, a cross-platform XMPP client from back in the day. I wouldn’t even know how to flash a onto a BlackBerry device, so AdAway is out of the question.

Long story short, Android apps from Amazon seem to work great with the Passport and BB10. But once again, I myself am not a BlackBerry user, so if there was anything else that you wanted to flag for fellow forum members, feel free to do so below.