Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sebastiandooris/3177145670/
Well my Android Runtime friends, it is finally here! Not the massive plate of gingerbread cookies or candy-decorated houses, but the Gold release of the BlackBerry Runtime for Android Apps and Plug-in for Android Development Tools for BlackBerry 10.
Before we get into some of the new functionality in this release, I wanted to take a moment and review what we have added to the Android Runtime for BlackBerry 10. Our goal has been to provide an integrated experience to the BlackBerry 10 platform, without requiring code changes to ported Android applications. These features, including all the teams’ performance and quality improvements, help to increase this platform experience. New API support and major features for BlackBerry 10 include:
- Calendar Event Creation – Intent support to create a calendar event using the native BlackBerry 10 app.
- Camera and Camera Flash API – Take pictures and make flashlight apps!
- Compose Support – Intent support to create an email or SMS message. (BlackBerry Hub is required)
- Contact Support – Email and phone numbers can be added to a new or existing contact using the native BlackBerry 10 contacts application.
- Dial Support – Phone numbers that are selected within an Android app will launch the phone dialer. The Phone application is required.
- File Picker Support – Support for the native BlackBerry 10 File Picker when selecting files within an Android app.
- In-App Payment API – Sell your virtual goods!
- Multimedia Sync – Multimedia created using Android applications are visible to native BlackBerry 10 multimedia applications. This includes pictures, videos, etc.
- Multi-Window – Each Android app will now run in its own application shell.
- Notifications – Provide notifications for your application. These can be made visible in the integrated BlackBerry 10 Hub, or as a splat on your application icon.
- Push API
- Sensor API – Support for the Ambient light and Proximity sensors.
- Telephony APIs – This includes support for cell locations and access to information about the network services on the device.
In this release, we were able to add support for the Camera Flash API and the native BlackBerry 10 File Picker. If you want to use these new features, no code changes are required — just grab the latest BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha update or BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha Simulator and get testing.
Additionally, our plug-in tools for Eclipse have added support for Windows 8 and Mac OSX 10.8 Mountain Lion, xhdpi Icons, and Android Development Tools v 21.
How do you start using these new features and tools? Jump to the Runtime for Android Apps microsite. There is an updated 1.5 release for the BlackBerry Eclipse Plug-in for Android Development Tools and Command-line tools to help get you using all these Android Runtime features for BlackBerry 10. For the Eclipse users, make sure to point your update site to: