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BlackBerry exploring alternative to WhatsApp


New York :BlackBerry is exploring alternatives to make working on BBM, its messaging platform, “more convenient and fun” to support users after rival WhatsApp announced to stop its support to Canadian firm’s operating system from later this year.

WhatsApp, which has over a billion users globally, had earlier this week said it will end support for BlackBerry phones and those powered by Nokia’s Symbian operating system later this year.

“BlackBerry is committed to our BlackBerry 10 operating system, and we work closely with developers to create and deploy solutions to bring apps to our consumer and enterprise fans. We continue to invest in the BlackBerry 10 platform and will introduce several key security updates this year,” BlackBerry said in a statement.

It added that the company is “actively exploring alternatives for BlackBerry users once support of WhatsApp Messenger for BBOS and BlackBerry 10 ends in late 2016”.

“Users of BlackBerry PRIV, which runs on Android, will not be impacted…While the app landscape continues to evolve, our commitment to BlackBerry10 and our developers is unwavering,” it said.

BlackBerry, in its blog, said it is building more features into BBM, especially on the security front.

“We’re evolving group and multi-person chats. We’re making BBM Protected an even better messaging solution for security-conscious organisations. We’re giving you ever more privacy and security by allowing you to control previews. We’re also working to make BBM more convenient and more fun,” it said.

Stating that messaging continues to be one of the most popular ways to communicate, BlackBerry said it will keep evolving the app and the services within it.

Once exclusive to BlackBerry devices, the company made BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) available on rival platforms of Android, iOS and Microsoft in 2013.

As of March 2014, it had about 85 million monthly users and around 113 million global registered users. The move was aimed at offering the struggling smartphone maker get newer avenues for monetisation.

WhatsApp said it had made the “tough decision” to end support for BlackBerry (including BlackBerry 10), Nokia S40, Nokia Symbian S60, Android 2.1, Android 2.2 and Windows Phone 7.1.

Citing the reason, the Facebook-owned company said when it was set up, about 70 per cent of smartphones sold were powered by operating systems offered by BlackBerry and Nokia.

However, mobile operating systems offered by Google, Apple and Microsoft account for 99.5 per cent of sales today.

WhatsApp, which competes with the likes of Hike, Viber and LINE as well, is very popular in emerging nations like Brazil, India and Russia.


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