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Blackberry OS 10.3 SDK Beta released: Android 4.3 Jelly Bean Runtime support, Bluetooth LE, NFC and more

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As expected, BlackBerry has rolled out the official SDK for BlackBerry 10.3 OS, which will add some nifty hardware and software support for the OS, which is struggling to make a dent in the market. BlackBerry 10 is competing with Windows Phone for the third-place in terms of mobile OS market share, but Microsoft’s OS has got some serious momentum thanks to its budget devices. BlackBerry is looking to cater to that segment too, especially with its new BlackBerry Z3.

As mentioned in the roadmap update for the BlackBerry Runtime for Android, the company has updated the runtime apps, and added support for newer APIs from Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. The runtime has been upgraded from Jelly Bean 4.2.2 and with it users can log in to Android apps that require authentication right from the BB10 accounts settings page. Users can also manage which apps have access to which accounts.

Applications that use Bluetooth Low Energy from Android API level 18 are now supported, while those that can use NFC are also supported now. NFC support includes reading and writing tags, as well as sharing data between NFC-enabled devices, so we could see native NFC chips in more BB devices.

One of the most crucial changes is in the Share Framework. Version 2 of the Framework allows Android apps to share to BlackBerry 10 menu targets, meaning you can share from the Android version of Evernote to BlackBerry Remember, for example.

To get started, developers will have to grab the BlackBerry 10.3 Beta SDK OS for BlackBerry 10 devices. The company’s Android Tooling page has updated command-line tools and plugins for Android Studio or Eclipse to develop Android apps for BB 10.

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