Thursday, November 10, 2011

Google Drops Native Support on Blackberry

Honestly, I was not a bit surprised when Google announced they were going to discontinue support for the native GMail application on the Blackberry. Clearly RIM now represents a much smaller and less important market so it makes sense for them to avoid spending the limited resources to support the use and maintain the code for the Blackberry platform. Google says you can keep using the native client but after November 22 you will no longer be able to download it nor will you be able to get support.

They are going to continue to support the connector for the Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES) which is used by the business community.

Google claims the reason is the mobile web client. They say it can be used very effectively with any browser and this is where they plan to concentrate their development efforts. Having just used the browser and mobile interface on my iPhone I would agree, although most Blackberry models have fairly small screens which could make it a bit more cumbersome.

But what did surprise me was how Google recently rushed to release the native client for the iPhone. We know they got ahead of themselves because it was a mess and had to be retracted. If you are going to concentrate on improving the mobile interface so native clients are not needed, why push out an IOS version?

In my view, Google timed this to take a little bit of the limelight from the 4s release. They know native clients are popular for performance and other reasons and will maintain them on both Android and IOS which are the two platforms that matter.Apple was making a big splash with the introduction of the new IOS 5, iPhone 4s and, of course, SIRI. Google attempted to steal a little attention by releasing the long awaited native client to preserve and delight its i-based customers. Sadly, this effort backfired and caused more embarrassment for Google than anything else. I am sure before long Google will make it right and release a fully tested and certified native client.

We all know the real reason RIM Blackberry is being ignored. The bloom is off this rose.

Captain Joe

Follow me on Twitter @JPuglisiLLC


  1. I have a slightly different theory which I'm prepared to accept is totally wrong....

    Google has a way of doing things, and it's mostly incremental. In the past, their products would go into "beta" and stay that way for years. Of course, "beta" was just another word for "unsupported". If something didn't work, well, it's in "beta". Right?

    Now, they could get away with that because they occupied a space many others didn't - the cloud. The products were free, and for the most part they were very good, different!

    But the landscape has changed somewhat over the past year or two. "Cloud" is no longer pushing the envelope and many niche companies are getting their products to market efficiently, on-time and, most importantly, on-quality.

    I'm not sure Google can do the "on-quality" part. I think device proliferation in the consumer market has raised expectations, and Google is struggling to adapt. The expectation is, "it works", immediately.

    Ironic, really, but you don't change the culture of a behemoth organization overnight.

    Your thoughts Joe?

  2. I agree the rules are changing and Google may not be as prepared to play in the production ready space. But the even a beta version would normally have been more thoroughly tested internally before release. In my view, market pressures are what forced them to fire off prematurely.