The maker of Android software, Google Inc, said in an “end-of-life announcement” that it will no longer support the Gmail App to its rival Research in Motion (RIM) BlackBerry smart phones.
Google said “Beginning on November 22 2011, we will end the support for Gmail App for BlackBerry (installed native app). Over the past year we have focused effects on building a great Gmail experience in the mobile browser and will continue investing in this area”.
However, Google will allow users to use Gmail App in case they have already downloaded it. In a statement that was posted online, Google said that while the Gmail users on BlackBerry will be able to continue consulting Google’s guide for troubleshooting the App, the guide “will not be maintained or enhanced”.
Google’s Gmail ranks among the world’s popular web-based e-mail services and it is said by the company that it has service to around 200 million users. According to ComScore data, the number of unique visitors to Gmail rose to 31 percent in October reaching 59.6 million.
However the RIM spokesperson said it will not affect BlackBerry users who access Gmail as they can still make use of its native support to synchronize with Gmail. Since 2009, RIM incorporated the native support for Gmail in BlackBerry OS 5.0 and above.
Gmail’s pull out : RIM’s woes
Many analysts were worried with the embarrassing service given by BlackBerry during last month and they also feared that many users might switch to Android and Apple devices.
It left millions of users unable to have access to e-mail across western Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe North and South America. The blame was put up on the failure of a core switch and the back-up mechanism at a facility in Europe.
RIM is struggling to find a way to stop its decline in the smart phone share market and revive its interest in Playbook tablet since the market went to 4.1 percent, the lowest ever since Aug 13, 2004.
The decision to end Gmail App however came as this internet giant has increasingly shifted its focus to RIM’s rival: Apple.
Roger Entner, founder of market research firm Recon Analytics LLC at Massachusetts said “Google is sticking it to RIM because RIM has become more and more of a competitor, from an eco-system perspective and pending the Motorola decision from a device perspective”
Though Zdnet UK asked Google whether this would be killing of Android Gmail App in favour of the browser based alternative, there was no reply at the time of writing.
However this is the second time in the week that Google has removed an app from the mobile Operating System since it released and subsequently pulled its Gmail App for Apple devices including iPad and iPod touch due to a bug associated with the notifications feature and some crash reports.
No matter how RIM spins it though, when one of the largest e-mail providers in the world drops the support for a platform and asks the user to wait for a period of time for a mobile web page to be developed doesn’t seem good.