BlackBerry has confirmed that it is “actively exploring alternatives” to WhatsApp for BlackBerry 10 after it was announced that the popular messaging service will cease support for all BlackBerry platforms by the end of this year.
“While the app landscape continues to evolve, our commitment to BlackBerry 10 and our developers is unwavering,” the Canadian company told TechRadar. “We are actively exploring alternatives for BlackBerry users once support of WhatsApp Messenger for BBOS and BlackBerry 10 ends in late 2016.”
It’s not totally clear what that means. There are already plenty of alternatives to WhatsApp, one of which is BlackBerry’s own BBM service, which the company suggests as one “secure, cross-platform” option in tweets published earlier today.
The downside to switching, of course, is that BB10 users will no longer be able to communicate with friends who do not use BBM and other services.
One option could be for BlackBerry to work out a deal with Facebook, which now owns WhatsApp, to develop third-party WhatsApp apps specifically for its own platforms. BlackBerry already builds its own Facebook and Twitter apps, so that’s not out of the question.
WhatsApp’s policy prohibits third-party apps, and it has been very strict about clamping down on these in the past. BlackBerry would have to convince it to make an exception for its users, but this would mean WhatsApp can continue to cling onto them without having to plough time and resources into maintaining its own BlackBerry apps.
We’ll have to wait and see where this goes, but for now, it’s probably a good idea to seek out a WhatsApp alternative if you’re determined not to switch platforms. You can still get WhatsApp on the BlackBerry Priv, which is powered by Android.