Hours before Amazon is widely expected to reveal its own smartphone, BlackBerry has announced plans to license the entire Amazon Appstore for BlackBerry 10 handsets.
Amazon's catalog of more than 200,000 Android apps will appear as a separate store this fall, as part of the BlackBerry 10.3 operating system update. That means BlackBerry users will finally have access to popular apps such as Netflix, Pinterest, and Minecraft without having to sideload anything or hunt for APK files.
BlackBerry says it will keep its own app store up and running, allowing users to access native BlackBerry 10 apps.
However, BlackBerry will be shutting down the music and video sections of its store on July 21. Users will still be able to access anything they've bought through MyWorld. BlackBerry is hoping that third-party music and video services--such as Spotify and Hulu--will fill the void.
This is hardly the first time BlackBerry has tried to make Android apps available on its phones. Developers have always been allowed to port their Android apps to BlackBerry, but this required a bit of work, and many developers just didn't bother. An update earlier this year allowed users to sideload Android APK files onto their devices, but average users may not be comfortable hunting for these files on the web. While there is a way to tap directly into the Google Play Store for apps, the setup process is tricky.
Using the Amazon Appstore should be pretty simple by comparison. The only question is how these apps will perform on BlackBerry 10. Some Android apps have been known to load slowly or perform poorly on BlackBerry handsets, especially compared to native apps, so while the Amazon Appstore should provide some relief to BlackBerry 10 users, it probably won't be a cure-all.