With the 10.2.1 update, BlackBerry has added the ability to install .APK files, directly on the phone. For those of you who may not be familiar with the .APK file format, it is the setup package for an Android app (Just as .EXE is for a Windows PC). This is a massive development because anyone using any BlackBerry 10 device - Z10, Q10, Q5, Z30, etc., can now get access to a massive library of apps. This used to be possible through a long, convoluted process. It's much easier now.
Step 1: Find the .APK for your favorite app
While its 'happy news' to be able to install Android apps directly on a BlackBerry 10 phone, you need to be very careful of where you may be getting the .APK file from. Google Play does not allow you to download the setup files on another device. Whatever the source you come across, you need to be extra careful to check the user feedback on the quality of apps. With anyone offering .APK files on third party websites, there is the massive risk of security issues. There is a legitimate fear of malware getting into the phone.
An honest advice, don’t go too far and start downloading “cracked” versions of apps that are paid on Android, because that is not only a corrupt practice but also a massive security risk.
Step 2: Get that .APK file on to the BB10 device
Multiple methods of doing that. First, you could open the website that offers the download, directly via the browser in the phone. Secondly, you may plug the phone to the PC (or Mac) via USB and transfer the file to the phone’s internal memory and proceed to install from the storage on the device. A third, and personally my favorite method, is to use a cloud service like Dropbox and Box. The File Manager within BlackBerry offers support for certain cloud services, and you could just sync the file from the PC to the cloud and access it on the phone.
Step 3: Install the .APK on BlackBerry 10
If you downloaded the .APK via the phone’s web browser, the Downloads window would usually prompt you asking where to save the file. Just tap the file when it's done, and the installation should begin.
If you had transferred the file from PC via the USB route, you can find it from the File Manager; if you remember the exact folder you saved the file in. Alternatively, use the phone’s search capabilities by tapping the magnifying glass icon on the bottom of the home screen and type ".apk" in the search box. Once you have located the file in the search results, simply tap on the file to proceed with the installation.
Once the .APK of the Android app has been selected, it will start installing. There may be a slight “processing” delay, but that will depend on the file’s size in most cases. Along the way, you will have to accept the device permissions that are required for the app to run (there will be a prompt for that) where you will get the choice to accept or decline.
Step 4: Find the app
Once installed, even these Android versions will sit alongside the native BlackBerry apps. Swipe right or left in the app list to figure out where the latest install sits. You can easily move the app around to a spot you may find more convenient - simply tap and hold an app icon for a couple of seconds and then drag it around.
Step 5: Getting over a potential disappointment
Yes, BlackBerry says that some Android apps will run on BlackBerry 10. But do remember, since the OS isn’t Android, the experience may not always be perfect. Also, certain apps will not run. For example, any of those theme customization apps will not work on BB10. Also, some of Google’s apps like Hangouts and Gmail may not work smoothly (or work at all), since these apps require Google Play Services’ access, which BB10 obviously does not have.