Google kills BlackBerry App

BlackBerry pictureDo you have a BlackBerry and want to run Google's Gmail app on it? You'd better hurry, it's scheduled for the chop. After 22 November it won't be available for download, and at the same time Google will stop supporting it.

The company wants you to go onto the browser view instead, but hang on: weren't we supposed to decide how we use our phones rather than be told how to do it by software companies?
The even more extraordinary thing about this announcement is that it's only a couple of weeks since Google released its iOS app, which was so flawed it withdrew it from iPhone users on the day of its release. Has the company decided it can only support web browser views of its mail system?

Vested interests


Or equally likely, has it decided that if it controls the view of its email rather than letting us control it, it can be free to bring in adverts and generally monetise it as it sees fit? Before people get angry about this it's worth stressing once again that the mail is something Google offers for free, it's quite reasonable that it should try to get some money back from it somehow. And if end customers like us insist on an uncluttered, advert-free view, then that's not going to be possible.

The app market is probably a good area for Google to exit as soon as it can. It owns the Android system, for which its app is still available. Maintaining separate apps for iOS, Windows Phone if that starts to take market share, Blackberry, Symbian from Nokia if the company continues with it, and maybe WebOS if HP decides to continue with it, is a lot of work with no obvious revenue stream coming out of it.

The idea of getting people to use the browser view, which can be device-neutral and visible on anything with a connection, therefore makes perfect business sense. It just feels a bit of a backward step to anyone who thought they were able to choose how their phone or tablet looked rather than be told how it's going to work.
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