How to turn your BlackBerry Playbook into a Kindle Fire
If you are waiting for Amazon's Kindle Fire to be released in the UK there is now an alternative - the BlackBerry PlayBook.
But wait, we hear you cry, the BlackBerry PlayBook doesn't have a Kindle app. That's correct, however with a bit of jiggery-pokery and about 20 minutes of your time you can now sideload Android apps on to the PlayBook to run as if it were an Android tablet, even if they aren't available in the BlackBerry App World. Here is how:
Downloading the software you'll need
To make this possible- and don't worry, it is all above board - you need to download and install the Java Runtime Environment suite for your PC and download and install something called the DDPB installer that basically lets you transfer the Android apps that you will download to your PC to your PlayBook. You will need a PC and the DPPB isn't Mac friendly.
Preparing the PlayBook
To do this you will have to have a BlackBerry PlayBook, obviously, and it must be running the latest PlayBook 2.0 operating system.
Now go into the Settings > Security > Developer Mode.
Turn on developer mode, enter your password and make sure you remember it for later. You will need it in a minute.
Back on the home screen you will now find an icon of a person in the top status bar next to the orientation button. Pressing it gives you the IP address of your PlayBook.
Finding Android apps
Having installed the software on your PC above and set up your PlayBook to take them, you've now got to go and find some apps to install. There are plenty of sites on the web that detail where to get the files, however a good one to start is goodereader.com which lists most of the free apps you are probably after.
While you can get even geekier than we are describing here by converting files called .apk, we would recommend you stick to the .bar files to start with. That way you have to do nothing too technical apart from download it to your PC.
We would recommend the Kindle App from Android to start with, allowing you to turn your PlayBook into a Kindle Fire (it also happens to look like one).
Installing Android apps
Connect your PlayBook to your PC and if the Windows Device Manager turns on (it probably will) just turn it off again. Now run the DDPB software you've installed.
A window looking like your PlayBook will appear. Fill in your PlayBook's IP address, its password (you set this a minute ago) and then click on the "Add" button.
Find the .bar file of the app you want to install and select. You should now see the file listed in the big grey area. Check the tick box and then click install.
A couple of seconds later the file will start installing and then appear in your app list as if by magic.
If everything has gone to plan you now have the Android Kindle app on your PlayBook. Grab a nice cup of coffee, a comfy chair and go enjoy that book.
Let us know how you get on in the comments below