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How To Run Layar On BlackBerry Devices Running BB OS 10.2.1

Dirk Groten February 6, 2014

Last week BlackBerry released a major update for BlackBerry OS 10 which includes an enormous improvement in their Android runtime environment. That means that now, almost any Android app can run on BlackBerry devices which have been updated to OS 10.2.1. 

Of course, we were curious to see if Layar would run in this new runtime environment and the good news is: It does! Layar uses a lot of low level calls to native (C++) APIs, which meant that up to now, it wasn’t compatible with the Android emulator that BlackBerry was running on OS 10, but that has changed since the added support for Android Native (JNI).

If you want to try it for yourself, just follow these steps:

  1.  You’ll need to have a Z10, Q10, Z30 or Q5 device. Only these devices are supported.
  2. Make sure you update your BlackBerry device to the latest OS, at the time of writing 10.2.1.537. It must be at least 10.2.1. To update, go to Settings, then Software Update and follow the instructions.
  3. Once your device is updated (this can take up to half an hour), reboot
  4. Open this page in the browser on your BlackBerry device: http://layar.com/download/blackberry
  5. Download the .apk file from that page
  6. When the file is downloaded, the Downloads list will open, if not, open it via the menu in the browser
  7. Click on the .apk file that was download and you will get the Layar install screen.
  8. Hit Install, if it’s the first time you install an app that is not from BlackBerry World, you’ll be asked to give permission. Toggle the switch and continue the installation.
  9. Now you’ll be asked to agree to the permissions Layar requires to run, click Accept.

That’s it! Now you can use Layar on your BlackBerry device. This is Layar v8.1 as we published it in Google Play, with no changes for BlackBerry. We’ll probably do a few small tweaks to improve the experience on BlackBerry in our next release. Let us know what you think, any issues you find, or if you like Layar on BlackBerry and think we should submit it to BlackBerry App World. Just use the comments below.

There are a few known issues we encountered while testing on a Z10:

  • AR videos don’t play in the AR view, so you’ll have to tap them to view them full screen;
  • The camera zoom level is a bit awkward, forcing you to hold your phone quite far away from the printed page when you’re using the scanning view in Layar;
  • Sometimes hitting scan doesn’t give a quick response, just hit back when that happens and try again;
  • When using Geo Layers, the map view doesn’t work.

We’re curious to hear your feedback!

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