Hands-on with side-loaded Android apps on the BlackBerry PlayBook (gallery)

Hands-on with side-loaded Android apps on the BlackBerry PlayBook (gallery)

Summary: The OS 2.0 update brought support for Android apps on the BlackBerry PlayBook. While many Android apps are available in BB App World, there are still many missing that can be side-loaded onto the device. This is similar to how apps are loaded on the Kindle Fire and B&N Nook Tablet.


A few days ago I wrote about my new excitement over the RIM BlackBerry PlayBook and my 64GB model should be here by Tuesday. I followed the quick and easy guide for side-loading apps from the CrackBerry site and found it quite easy to install some of my favorite Android apps that are still missing in BB App World. You can check out several screenshots of these Android apps in my image gallery.

Here are the apps I currently have side-loaded onto my BlackBerry PlayBook:

  • Amazon Kindle
  • Amazon MP3
  • Dolphin Browser
  • Evernote
  • Google Maps
  • Pulse
  • QuickOffice Pro
  • SNES emulator
  • Twitter
  • Words with Friends
  • YouVersion Bible

Image Gallery: Check out some screenshots of Android apps side-loaded onto my BlackBerry PlayBook. Image Gallery: Android apps on PB Image Gallery: Donkey Kong Country

You may be wondering why I would load up Evernote when that is an official app for the PlayBook, but if you have used the Android version of Evernote you will easily see it is far more functional than the PlayBook version. There is a limitation on Android apps currently on the PlayBook so that notes created by taking photos with the camera are not supported.

Here are my thoughts and experiences on using the other applications I have loaded on my PlayBook:

  • Amazon Kindle: There still is no official version from Amazon, but so far this side-loaded app works just fine. I was able to download my library and reading is a pleasure. I still enjoy using Kobo, but have several titles I bought from Amazon since the Kindle app is on so many other mobile platforms.
  • Amazon MP3: I have quite a few songs on Amazon MP3 and enjoy listening to music through the great speakers on the PlayBook.
  • Dolphin Browser: The web browser on the PlayBook is excellent, but I wanted to try out the Dolphin Browser too since it is my favorite on Android.
  • Google Maps: I like Google Maps and so far the Android version is working fine on my PlayBook. I haven't setup my PlayBook for GPS voice guided navigation yet, but after the 64GB version arrives I will look into this some more.
  • Pulse: Pulse is my favorite RSS/Google Reader application on Android (Flipboard rules on iOS) and I like it on my PlayBook too.
  • Quickoffice Pro: Documents To Go is now running well thanks to the PlayBook OS 2.0 software, but I really like Quickoffice Pro too since it has so much support for cloud storage services.
  • SNES emulator: There are some excellent games on the PlayBook (make sure to go download the free Asphalt 6 and Modern Combat games), but I also enjoy reminiscing with games from my youth. I loaded up the SNES emulator and a few Donkey Kong Country games and had a blast playing them on my PlayBook.
  • Words with Friends: This is my favorite word game, primarily because I can play all of my friends when I am on my iPhone or an Android device. It works well on my PlayBook, but I have noticed some very slight delays in status updates and gameplay. Even with these though, it is still very playable and nice to have on the PlayBook.
  • Twitter: There is still no official Twitter app on the PlayBook, although Twitter is integrated in a limited fashion through Contacts. I use Blaq for Twitter, but also loaded up the Twitter Android application to see if that works better for me.
  • YouVersion Bible: I have a daily Bible reading plan and devotional that I read in YouVersion and found this .bar file to use on my PlayBook. It looks to be the smartphone version and is not optimized for the large screen, but it is still quite usable until some other version comes along.

I look forward to seeing more official Android apps in BlackBerry App World, but in the meantime I will continue to side-load those I find necessary for full tablet functionality. Some others that I look forward to seeing soon on my PlayBook include:

  • Google+
  • Netflix
  • Spotify
  • USAA banking
  • TripIt
  • Skype

What apps do you want to see on the PlayBook?

Topics: Android, Apps, Google, Mobility, BlackBerry, Security

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Love the side loading

    I side loaded a bunch of apps this weekend - Skype does not work, Twitter is terrible but Kindle and Google Maps are excellent. Mixed bag - I think just load up a bunch, see what you like and delete the rest. Nice to have the option now. Playbook rocks!
  • Nice Catalog of Re-Packaged Android Apps


    You should check out this site for more Android .BAR sideloading options:


    They're up to 60 major titles and the list grows daily. Add to this all of the non-traditional sources - plus the AppWorld deluge - and there's plenty of stuff to satisfy that inner geek. :-)

    Randall C. Kennedy
  • e-Mmanuel Bible Reader

    You should get that bible reader from the Blackberry App World, you can download many different versions for offline reading, can read two versions side by side, can add notes, and several other things. I sold my PB in January when completely lost interest in the Playbook (my faith in RIM had died way before that), but that was one...probably the only app, that I miss from it.
  • Apps

    I'd like to see skype, netflix, evi, ebay, espn
    • Already Available

      The ebay and espn Android apps are at the site I pointed to above:


      Randall C. Kennedy
  • Just added Rhapsody and Pandora

    I prefer the browser version of Pandora for overall look and feel since the PlayBook browser is so good.
  • Skype

    Add skype and I will buy my second PB.
  • Hulu Plus

    Can this be sideloaded to the Playbook?
  • A few more...

    Nook & Kobo apps.
  • Saxx Mobile Albert Mita Scammer Saxx Mobile Scam Exposed

    Saxx Mobile is wireless dealer located in New York. Saxx Mobile specializes in scamming their customers by selling them used phones, as ???new???. They have also been caught selling carrier returns as new, as well as selling Blackberry Devices with blocked PIN???s. If you research Saxx Mobile you will find a great and informative site called Saxx Mobile Scam. http://saxxmobilescam.com/This site will provide validation on the claims listed above. It will also provide you location information of this corrupt company.
    Saxx Mobile claims to have 2 locations.
    Saxx Mobile New York
    2709 Coney Island Ave.
    3rd Floor
    Brooklyn N.Y. 11235
    (P) 347 673 8455
    (F) 347 673 8457

    Saxx Mobile Miami
    8000 NW 31st St.
    Suite #9
    Doral F.L. , 33122
    (P) 305 599 8804
    (F) 305 599 8807
    Both of these locations have been involved in scams of their customers. Saxx Mobile prides themselves on the number of phones they sell, not the quality of phones they sell. Saxx Mobile does not build relationships; in fact, they destroy them. Saxx Mobile is after one thing; MONEY. Money is what drives Albert Mita (the owner of Saxx Mobile). Anything to make a ???quick buck??? will be a priority to Albert Mita. Albert Mita can be researched at www.albertmita.com. This will take you to the Saxx Mobile Scam website where you will find more and more scams that Saxx Mobile has done.
    They can not nothing but deny the claims. Saxx Mobile has been involved in 6 large public scams, all found on the Saxx Mobile Scam website. These are not the only scams that Saxx Mobile has been a part of. If you have been involved in a scam with Saxx Mobile please visit Saxx Mobile Scam and post your story.
    The wireless industry is a deceitful one, but with sites like Saxx Mobile Scam there are ways to make it better. Exposing these companies will help the industry by making prospective customers more aware of scams, such as Saxx Mobile Scam.
    Please stay away from Saxx Mobile. They will do anything to get your business, and more to get your money. But once they have your money, they are in control of you. Do not give them control. The less you buy from Saxx Mobile, the better chance they have of going out of business. Post your story at www.saxxmobilescam.com ??? the epicenter of all things Saxx Mobile Scam.
  • Best Innovative Android & Blackberry Application for Shopping

    Hi Friends..!!

    I came across this new application for Android / Blackberry mobiles.

    Application : Mintm
    Download Link : www.mintmapp.com/app
    Supports :Android Mobiles and Blackberry

    This is an innovative application which gives free gifts just for making window-shopping. And it also has some more best features to earn points (mints) . These points can be finally converted into free gifts.

    This application has reached around 2 million users in 3 months. Hope this information about mintm will be useful. :-)