One of the most important components of a successful smartphone ecosystem is its apps. Exceptional hardware, a powerful operating system and strong marketing are all great, but apps represent the real user experience on any platform, opening up the full potential of a device and its OS to enrich the lives of its users. So when developers and brands begin withdrawing their apps from a platform, it’s never a good sign.
It’s an unwelcome development, then, that travel price comparison site KAYAK (via The Next Web) has announced that it is dropping support for BlackBerry, and that its current app on the mobile platform will no longer be updated with new features or fixes.
KAYAK used this image to illustrate its press release about its decision to drop Blackberry.
KAYAK’s statement on the matter was surprisingly regretful in its tone, but its sentiments will surely resonate with many users and observers across the mobile industry. Calling it a “practical decision”, the company stated that although “BlackBerry was (and is) an amazing messaging platform… it’s not working out to be a great channel for consumer mobile applications”.
Recalling that when KAYAK started operations in 2004, it equipped its team with BlackBerrys to maintain easy round-the-clock communication, it added that “today we’ve all switched, and it seems our users are doing the same. Our audience of BlackBerry users has been declining precipitously, and we can’t justify the cost any longer.”
The company also paid tribute to BlackBerry’s owner: “RIM was a smartphone pioneer and we thank them for what they’ve done, and wish them renewed success.”
The scale of the task that lies ahead for RIM – as it struggles to stay relevant in the minds of developers, brand and consumers – is considerable. This isn’t the first app to drop BlackBerry support in the last few months. Back in June 2011, Seesmic abandoned the platform; a more recent and more high-profile example was that of Gmail, which confirmed that it would no longer be supporting BlackBerry in November 2011.
BlackBerry users who have already installed the KAYAK app can continue to use it, but the company emphasises that it will only continue to develop its app for iOS, Android, Windows Phone and Symbian/Belle.