BlackBerry OS users will soon lose the Facebook app for the BlackBerry 10 OS as Facebook drops support for the stand-alone app due to the platform’s small market share.
With the demise of the Facebook app for BlackBerry OS, BlackBerry users will still be able to access the social media site through a Web browser on their smartphone or by using a Web Wrapper app that will provide a Web view of the Facebook platform, a Facebook spokesperson said. Users of BlackBerry Android phones such as the Priv (pictured) will still be able to access Facebook through an Android app.
“In order to give BlackBerry users the best Facebook experience with access to more features, we have decided to transition BlackBerry support from the BlackBerry native app to the Web Wrapper app,” the Facebook spokesperson wrote in an email reply to an eWEEK inquiry. “We hope this improves the Facebook experience for BlackBerry users.”
Facebook’s decision comes about three weeks after WhatsApp, also owned by Facebook, announced in February that it will end support for BlackBerry, Nokia S40, Nokia Symbian S60, Android 2.2 and 2.1, and Windows Phone 7.1 mobile operating systems by the end of 2016 as the user bases for the platforms continued to shrink.
Lou Gazzola, senior marketing manager for developer relations at BlackBerry, wrote in a March 17 post on the Inside BlackBerry blog that his company is “extremely disappointed” with Facebook’s decision, which came even after “we fought back to work with WhatsApp and Facebook to change their minds.”
Gazzola suggested that BlackBerry users let Facebook know of their disdain for the company’s decision by using the hashtag #ILoveBB10Apps on Twitter and communicating their disdain on other social media platforms. “Despite this, we have worked hard to ensure our end users have the best experience in light of this decision, and are continuing to search for alternate solutions,” he wrote.
“Our commitment to BlackBerry 10 and to developers has not changed—we know our developer community continues to be one of the strongest proponents of BlackBerry 10 and they are creating thousands of apps every month,” continued Gazzola.
The Facebook move comes as consumers continue to flock to Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating systems on a majority of mobile devices in the marketplace, and away from BlackBerry’s operating system, according to an earlier eWEEK story.
When WhatsApp announced its move away from BlackBerry 10 in February it said that the smartphone market had changed drastically since it began WhatsApp in 2009, when about 70 percent of smartphones sold at the time had operating systems offered by BlackBerry and Nokia. About 99.5 percent of mobile devices today use Google Android, Apple and Microsoft operating systems.
WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook in February 2014 for about $4 billion in cash and $12 billion in stock, according to an earlier eWEEK report. WhatsApp Messenger is a cross-platform mobile messaging app that allows users to exchange messages without having to pay separately for Short Message Service (SMS). Santa Clara, Calif.-based WhatsApp launched in 2009 and recently reported that it has about 1 billion monthly users.