BlackBerry Android Runtime Update to Bring Support for Native Code

BlackBerry today announced that BB 10’s Android Runtime layer, which allows BlackBerry developers to easily package and distribute Android apps for the BlackBerry platform, is getting an update with BlackBerry 10.2.1.

This will bring a host of improvements, including support for apps that use shared libraries written in native code (though this is limited to the recommended system headers and APIs laid out by Google), support for apps that use Android Bluetooth APIs, and support for apps that use MapView v1 from Google Maps v1 API via OpenStreetMaps.

BlackBerry is also promising that apps registering with the share framework in Android will now appear as share targets in the BB10 share menu and apps utilizing text input will support spell check/correction/add to dictionary. Future updates will bring support for Bluetooth Low Energy for Android and MapView v2 API.

The end result will be more games and apps for the BlackBerry App World, which is definitely good news for BlackBerry users given one of the platform’s biggest shortcomings is its app library. No word on when exactly we can expect the update to land (BlackBerry just says the BB 10.2.1 SDK OS is coming “soon”) but the roadmap shows it as on track for a November release, so it should be here in the next fortnight or so.

Update: BlackBerry has announced that the Android Runtime update is now available for via the BlackBerry 10.2.1 Beta SDK for developers to test their apps.

Source: BlackBerry Developer Blog