I think tablets are just about the neatest bit of gadgetry in existence, right now. I picked up a Playbook about six months ago and I take it everywhere I go. I use it to read, write, surf the web, email, socialize, play games and keep my grocery list updated. It’s fantastic. I have apps for everything!
Especially now, since you can sideload Android apps onto the Blackberry operating system (OS).
It’s a very simple process and opens up a huge world of apps that were previously unavailable. I don’t know why, but there aren’t a ton of really fun apps for the Playbook. I think Blackberry must have a very serious-minded market share – their customers are people who are not extremely concerned about games or puzzles and probably don’t have time for that kind of thing.
I like Blackberry a lot and I try to support Canadian companies whenever possible. One of the biggest selling features of the Playbook is the ability to bridge my phone to my tablet, so if I can’t get wifi access, I still have a connection through my wireless carrier.
Last week, I went online and learned how to sideload Android apps on my Blackberry tablet. It’s actually spectacularly easy to accomplish and I encourage everyone with a Playbook to try it out. If you don’t do anything silly, you’re in no danger of “bricking” your tablet – I promise.
Your first step is to download and install a program called DDPBInstaller – a simple search on Google will bring it up for you. You will also want to run a search for a couple of apps that you would like installed. I would suggest something easy to find, for your first install – Angry Birds is kind of fun, and MoonReader, which is an awesome ereader app. Your files should end in the .bar extension, so try running a search on Google like this: “filetype: .bar Angry Birds” (without quotes). There are lists linked for you at the end of my post.
Next, verify that you have PlayBook OSv2.0 installed and plug your tablet into your computer. If you do not have OSv2.0, sideloading will not work. An easy way to verify your OS is to click on settings and go to about.
Turn on developer mode by going to your Playbook settings and clicking on security and development mode. It will give you an IP number that looks like this: 22.214.171.124 – three separate numbers, divided by periods, which can be one to three digits each.
Once developer mode is turned on, run DDPBInstaller and connect it to your Playbook by hitting “scan”. If it doesn’t bring up the right IP number, try entering it in manually.
Now, simply hit “add”, navigate to where your downloaded app files are, add the .bar files to your app list, and hit install. Don’t worry if it takes a few minutes – some apps take longer than others and I’ve never had a single one time out on me.
You don’t need to reboot your Playbook – the icons should already be on your tablet desktop. Make sure you always properly disconnect your Playbook from your computer.
Some apps don’t load, for whatever reason, so don’t get discouraged if a bunch won’t work. Just remember, keep looking for new .bar files every couple of days. There are tons more posted all the time.
If you have any questions, please feel free to drop me a line and I’ll do my best to help.