Update: A BlackBerry spokesperson wrote to explain that yes, the BlackBerry 10.2.1 update does indeed add support for native Android apps up through Android Jelly Bean. This version is already available for developers, and will be released to the public "this year," according to the spokesperson.

He also pointed out that the existing release, BlackBerry 10.2.0, supports Android apps up through Android Ice Cream Sandwich, but only if they're repackaged as .bar BlackBerry files and re-submitted to BlackBerry World. So BB 10.2.1 ups the compatibility and eliminates the need to repackage the apps.

Original story follows…

BlackBerry has reportedly begun approaching Android app and game developers about getting their native Android apps directly onto the BlackBerry World app marketplace.

Apparently the next BlackBerry firmware update will support native Android APK files directly, and porting them over will require very little work from developers, according to Good e-Reader.

The digital publishing news site reported that it spoke with at least four Android app developers at CES 2014 who confirmed that BlackBerry had approached them about publishing their apps directly to BlackBerry 10.

These developers need do nothing more than make BlackBerry World profiles and submit icons, screenshots and app descriptions for their existing Android apps to appear in the BlackBerry 10 app ecosystem.

A whole new world

It's not just about devs - BlackBerry 10 users will reportedly be able to download these apps directly to their devices, just as if they were normal BB10 apps. These devices are said to include the BlackBerry Q5, Q10, Z10 and Z30.

BlackBerry stands to benefit enormously from its app ecosystem being inundated with Android apps, and if it really is that easy for Android developers to expand to BlackBerry World then that could very well happen. Easy as a slice of blackberry pie, right?

Good e-Reader claims this feature will become available in the BlackBerry 10.3 update, but users in a CrackBerry forum thread discussing the article claim that it will actually be in BlackBerry 10.2.1.

In either case, it seems the feature could arrive soon.

We've asked BlackBerry to provide a statement and clarify when BlackBerry devices will support native Android apps, and we'll update this article when possible.