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Google axes its Gmail app for BlackBerry

A smack down has been laid on BlackBerry from the mighty Google and comes in the form of total Gmail app removal from the Blackberry store.

From November 22, Google will no longer be supporting its Gmail app for BlackBerry. If it is already installed, the app will continue to work. Google said that it has stopped development in order to concentrate on the mobile browsing experience.

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BlackBerry users who want to access Gmail will have to go through the web browser or add their email accounts to the BlackBerry messaging service. Google has gone on record saying that the troubleshooting guide for the Gmail app, “will no longer be maintained or enhanced.” The full release can be read here  and is cunningly titled, “Deprecation of Gmail App for BlackBerry”.

RIM quickly followed up this announcement with a statement of its own. RIM says its systems support “native Gmail” therefore a dedicated Gmail app is “unnecessary”.

The statement further outlines the reason for Gmail’s vanishing act.

Since 2009, RIM has incorporated native support for Gmail in BlackBerry 5.0 and above, which means that a separate Gmail app is not required. The large majority of users who access Gmail on their BlackBerry smartphone already rely on the native support (provided through BlackBerry Internet Service) rather than the separate Gmail app.

Roger Entner, an analyst from LLC has a personal take on the matter. “It’s a more symbolic gesture, as if you want it to work you can make it work but the app makes it easier.”

“Google is sticking it to RIM because RIM has become more and more of a competitor, from an ecosystem perspective and, pending the Motorola acquisition, from a device perspective.”

The outlook for BlackBerry is grim indeed. The now infamous “core switch failure” plunged BlackBerry into the dark for days on end, suffering without an explanation during the initial downtime. Stock fell, users jumped ship and now Gmail has left BlackBerry.

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