Google dumps Voice App for BlackBerry

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Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is sunsetting its native Voice App for BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY), stating it will terminate support for the calling and messaging service next week.

Google said it will discontinue its Voice App for BlackBerry.

"For BlackBerry users who want to continue using Google Voice, we recommend they use our HTML5 app, which is more secure and easier for us to keep up to date," writes Google SVP of Technical Infrastructure Urs Hölzle. "Our HTML5 site is compatible with users with BlackBerry version 6 and newer."

The Internet-based Google Voice promises free domestic calls, cheap rates for international calls, free text messaging to U.S. numbers and voicemail transcription. The app also includes push notifications to alert users of new voicemail or text messages. Google will continue supporting native Voice apps for its own Android mobile operating system as well as Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) rival iOS.

Google's decision represents another setback for the struggling BlackBerry platform. BlackBerry (formerly Research In Motion) unveiled its overhauled BlackBerry 10 OS in late January, and while high-profile partners including Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), LinkedIn, Skype, Twitter, foursquare, WhatsApp, Evernote, The Weather Channel, DropBox and Electronic Arts have officially pledged their support for the new platform, brands like Netflix have said "We have no current plans for a BlackBerry app."

At the same time, photo-sharing app Instagram reportedly has opted against building a native BB10 app but may port its Android app. The BlackBerry 10 SDK includes the BlackBerry Runtime for Android, enabling developers to repackage applications originally written for the Google OS. Insiders indicate that roughly 40 percent of all 70,000 third-party BB10 apps are adapted from native Android releases.

The absence of popular apps like Google Voice, Netflix and Instagram could further diminish BlackBerry's waning consumer appeal. As of January, BlackBerry commands just 5.9 percent of the U.S. smartphone market, down 1.9 percentage points since October 2012, according to research firm comScore. Android leads at 52.3 percent, followed by iOS at 37.8 percent.

For more:
- read this Google Official Blog entry

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