Since its version 2.0 the RIM BlackBerry PlayBook OS acccepts now slightly modified Android application.
Here are the steps to convert your Android application to run on PlayBook OS 2.0 and to publish it on BlackBerry App World.
Convert your Android application to run on PlayBook OS 2.0
Requirements for your Android app :
- Your Android application must be targeting version 2.2.3 (API level 10) or earlier to be converted
- It must not use the Camera permission (not supported)
- The icon (res/drawable/icon.png) has to be converted to 86×86 pixels
- There are plenty other requirements, you can read on following this link if you run into trouble
If you can convert your Android app using an eclipse plugin provided by RIM, I preferred to use their online packaging tool, which actually worked great and did not force me to add yet another plugin inside my IDE
So, from the Online Packaging Tool page, follow the instructions :
- After accepting the agreement, specify the location of your Android app (.apk) and your Android SDK folder, if everything went OK, you should get this confirmation message :
If you have a warning or error message, it means your app does not meet the requirements, then , have a look at the list of requirements
- Request your signing keys to RIM, they’ll then send you (it takes few hours) emails containing 2 certificates : 1 client-RDK-xxx.csj certificate (Rim Development Key) and 1 client-PBDT-xxx.csj certificate (PlayBook Debug Token)
- Then configure your computer to actually generate a developer certificate (.p12), still using the online tool
- Finally, you can go to the Packaging and Signing section, to sign your application using your developer certificate (.p12)
You finally obtained your BAR archive, ready for submission to BlackBerry App World !
Publish your converted Android application (.bar) to BlackBerry AppWorld
You must register to the vendor portal first (they will ask you to provide an official id such as a passport or driving license), it is free (actually all steps are free), then you’ll receive a notification by email (few days later) telling you your account is approved (read on this post to have some feedback about registration)
Once you are able to login,
- you’ll have to create a new product : for that you will need to submit a series of forms about your app (description, screenshots, audience, etc…)
- Now add a release of your product, this is where you are going to upload and publish the bar version of your Android app (file bundle), target it for Tablet PlayBook 2.0 All
- And finally submit it for review : the first time I did that, they got back to me more than a week after – well, it was during the period of the promotional PlayBook giveaway in exchange of a new app submission – to finally deny my submission because there were some Android logos in the screenshots
I finally received a playbook after my app was accepted on the app world; it does not run as smoothly as the original android version, but is still usable.
All in all that was a pretty good experience, I only regret the long time I had to wait between all the validations; it seems that it’s getting better (according to the positive tweets I read on this subject); so you’re an Android developer and want to gain a (even) broader audience, go for it !