I was fortunate to win a BlackBerry Playbook last December as part of the BlackBerry Game Port-a-Thon. Since the Playbook did not run the BB 10 OS, it was always challenging to get the kind of applications that are available on the Apple and Android platforms. This was dissapointing since the hardware was superb on the BlackBerry and the 7″ factor made the tablet easy to carry.
I primarily used my Playbook for 2 things : Playing music off its in-built speakers (I still believe it beats the others over here) and for the Docs-To-Go application that allowed me to compose Word documents on the go. Over time, I kept waiting for BlackBerry to announce that BB 10 OS would be available for download but that did not happen. News last week, confirms that he PlayBook will never receive the update.
Then began my search to see if people had ported some of the Android apps over to Playbook since the process of converting the APK to BAR files was straightforward and it was the same process that I used to publish around 11 apps on the BlackBerry store. My goal was just one thing : I wanted to get the Kindle Application from Amazon on my Playbook so that I can continue to use the PlayBook for a long time to come. I love reading and if I could somehow get Kindle on my Playbook and access my Kindle books, that would address all the usefulness that I want from the device.
I was not disappointed and outlined below is the process that any of you can use to get the Kindle App running on your Playbook running OS 2.x. The story may not end there for you, there are tons of other applications that are ported over to run on Playbook including apps like Flipboard, so feel free to load whatever you want.
Few things first:
- I have a Playbook 32 GB running OS 126.96.36.1996
- You need to have Google Chrome Browser since the tool to transfer apps to the PlayBook is a Chrome plugin. There are other tools also available, but I will go with this one.
- I am running a Windows 7 machine. You will need both your Windows 7 machine and the PlayBook device to be on the same WiFi network.
Enable the Development Mode on your PlayBook
- Go to Settings -> Security -> Development Mode
- Toggle the Use Development Mode option to ON
- It will prompt you for the password. Provide an easy one so that you can remember it. It will be needed in the steps later.
- You should see a screen similar to the one given below. Ignore the Development Address that you see on the screen.
Connect Your PlayBook to WiFi network
- Switch on WiFi on your Playbook
- Go to Settings -> About. Select the Network option. You should see an IP Address (IPv4). Note down this IP Address. You will need this IP address when you transfer the applications from your machine to the Playbook, which we shall see in a while.
Download the Kindle Application .BAR file
There are various sites that provide .BAR files of popular Android applications. You need to be careful about which applications you simply download and try to push to your BlackBerry. So be prepared for crashes and surprises because the applications might not function correctly. Hence in this article, I am taking up only the Kindle .BAR file but I have found even other useful applications like Instagram, Flipboard to work fine on my PlayBook. So be ready to experiment and waste some time.
My reference for .BAR file is the GoodEReader site, which provides a huge list of popular apps that have been ported over. A snapshot of the popular apps from their site is shown below:
Scroll down and you will find the Kindle Reader application for BB10 and PlayBook:
Click on the link and download the .BAR file to your machine.
Launch PlayBook App Manager via Chrome
To recap, we have put our PlayBook in the Development Mode, connected it to WiFi network, noted down its IP Address and also downloaded the Kindle .BAR file.
Now, we are shifting to your machine (desktop/laptop). Ensure that your machine is also on the same WiFI network as the PlayBook.
The next step is to load the .BAR file on your PlayBook. To do that, launch Google Chrome Browser on your machine and visit the Chrome Web Store (Yes! The Chrome Browser also has an App Store). Search for the PlayBook App Manager Chrome Extension (Just type PlayBook App in the Search box) and you will see an Extension shown up in the Search results as given below:
Official Site for utility is here. Go ahead and install it. Since I have already installed it in my browser, I see only a Rate button, but you should see an Install button. Click that and the extension will be installed in your Browser. Run the extension. Sometimes it is easy to lose track of where the Extension gets installed. So in your Chrome Browser, go to Settings » Extensions » BB10 / PlayBook App Manager » Options.
You should see a screen that looks something like this:
Enter the IP Address of your PlayBook that you noted down in the “Connect Your PlayBook To The WiFi Network” step. And click on Save. In my case, the IP Address was 192.168.1.2 at the time I connected.
At the bottom, you will find the extension has added the PlayBook IP Address that you entered to a list of Managed Device. A sample is shown below:
Click on the IP Address. This will bring up a security warning, just go ahead and Proceed Anyway. Then a screen comes up which asks you for the password that you set for your PlayBook when you put it in the Development Mode. Enter the password in the screen below:
This will then query your PlayBook for the list of Applications that are already installed and shown them to you. A sample is shown below:
If all is well you will have the Kindle App installed on your BlackBerry PlayBook.
Note: At times you might have a problem connecting the PlayBook Manager to your Playbook. Simply go off WiFi and connect again. do note down the new IP Address and use that.
All the Best and Happy Reading …