Blackberry launched their new Z10 phones with a lot of fanfare. But post release, the company had to face a certain level of criticism from some quarters. The chief criticism faced by Blackberry has been regarding their app range. Contrary to the hype generated pre release, Blackberry could not live up to the promise of a plentiful app world. The apps were many in number but they were not the apps that people wanted on their personal devices. However, March onwards, Blackberry World will be providing a native WhatsApp app for Blackberry users.
WhatsApp has a large user base, and a native Blackberry app will go a long way in pleasing the BlackBerry users. BlackBerry’s flagship device comes at a premium price. For the success of this device, the application platform needs to see a lot of improvements. BlackBerry had heavily played up its 70,000 app strong BlackBerry World before launch. The app world although rich in a number of apps, was missing many users-favorite apps. WhatsApp’s announcements comes a welcome boost to BlackBerry which was facing a struggle explaining why popular apps such as Instagram was not keen on developing a native app particularly for BB 10.
The massive launch of the new BlackBerry 10 came with the announcement of a native WhatsApp app. This was seen as a major win for BlackBerry at that time, since WhatsApp did not seem very keen on bringing a native BB app earlier. In essence, WhatsApp is a functional alternative to BlackBerry’s own popular messenger BBM. The BBM is a powerful and much acclaimed messenger service that was always a major requirement for BlackBerry users. The limitation of the BBM messenger, however, is that its functionality is limited only between BlackBerry mobile devices. BBM’s latest version in BB 10 utilizes Wi-Fi connectivity and makes use of video alongside audio chat facilities. WhatsApp on the other hand is more of a cross-platform communication application that functions much in the same way as the BBM messenger.
WhatsApp thus has a very vast demographic of app users from various independent platforms. In one report in August last year, WhatsApp network reportedly exchanged 10 billion messages in a single day. This application brings users across the globe together and does away with the distances, borders, and international tariffs by providing users the platform to exchange messages for free. The app is currently available for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, BB 7, earlier Symbian phones, and even on some earlier models of Nokia phones.
If BlackBerry hopes to endear itself more to the public, then more such apps are the need of the day. Whatever the device, users will want to continue using the apps that they always have used on their previous device. If BlackBerry hopes to sway users from other platforms than just a plain, robust device won’t do. People are now so dependent on apps that they play a major influence on their decisions to switch over to a new device.
BlackBerry is a highly superior device with much attention grabbing features. The usual robustness of the platform has been replicated to this latest version as well. But if BlackBerry really wants practical success then popular apps are the way to go.