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

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.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer

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?

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