The end of Facebook and WhatsApp on BlackBerry 10

I am a proud owner of a BlackBerry Passport since more than a year now and have been extremely satisfied with this device. But the latest update of the Facebook app and the announcements around Facebook for BlackBerry 10 and WhatsApp leave me with some frustration.

It is no secret that the Facebook app for BlackBerry 10 never was on par with the Facebook apps on Android or iOS - neither feature nor stability wise. Facebook for BlackBerry 10 always had some hick ups here and there, but in the end it was useful, messages you received were added to the Hub and almost everything worked. At least for a basic usage of Facebook the app was all fine.

The latest update now puts that to an abrupt end. People who got to know about the changes beforehand and want to stay with the older and Hub integrated version will face an defunct Facebook app at the end of April as Facebook is then closing their APIs for BlackBerry.

So you will be forced to update to a Facebook app version which will simply start a Browser with a mobile version of Facebook. Messages over the Facebook Messenger will no longer be integrated into the Hub as well as news will no longer be visible as well. Receiving news and messages will only be possible over the Browser without any notification available, in fact shutting you away from the people you used to communicate with over the Facebook services.

But this is not enough. As WhatsApp is part of the Facebook, too, they will shut down their services for BlackBerry OS at the end of 2016.

In the end you are stuck with Twitter which remains the only app with Hub integration for notifying you about new direct messages.

BlackBerry is trying to make Facebook change their minds but I would not count on a success of these efforts. BlackBerry is pointing out in a blog post on this issue that they will be further taking care about it and are trying to better support the community and developers with a new list in the BlackBerry World which is featuring the best 20 native BlackBerry apps available on a monthly basis (each list will be available for two weeks).

Nonetheless this leaves us users with a basic question: Where is the BlackBerry OS 10 heading, especially when already some big players like Facebook and WhatsApp are shutting down their services for the BlackBerry OS user community?

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Pierre Böckmann

Born 1985 in Berlin, I am Software Developer, Blogger, Author, Open Source Enthusiast, openSUSE member and passionate openSUSE Leap user.