In an apparent change of heart, the wildly popular cross platform instant messaging client WhatsApp will make its way to BlackBerry 10 devices in March.In an apparent change of heart, the wildly popular cross platform instant messaging client WhatsApp will make its way to BlackBerry 10 devices in March.
As late as December, the company said they had no plans to support BB10.
But on Friday, Neeraj Arora from WhatsApp tweeted that the app “is coming to BB10 some time in March.”
WhatsApp was founded in 2009 by former Yahoo employees Brian Acton and Jan Koum. The company’s eponymous app, which the Financial Times likened to Skype, is growing rapidly, from one billion messages in October of 2011 to more than ten billion in August 2012.
The $.99 app plugs another hole for BlackBerry, which has desperately tried to catch up to Apple and Android in the apps race. The company’s BlackBerry 10 devices launched with 70,000 apps, including FaceBook, Twitter, Angry Birds, LinkedIn and Foursquare.
BlackBerry, however, still trails Apple’s App Store, which has more than 775,000 apps, and Android devices, which have more than 700,000 in the Google Play store.
While BlackBerry’s Chief Marketing Officer Frank Boulben said BlackBerry 10 devices will ultimately support approximately 90% of the top 600 iOS and Android apps, the devices are still missing some of the most popular apps, including Netflix and Skype, although that latter will be ported over from Android.
What’s behind WhatsApp’s reversal on BlackBerry 10? Perhaps it’s because the new devices are, increasingly, looking like they are ready to fill the third spot behind Apple and Android. CEO Thorsten Heins recently said BlackBerry has increased its production capacity because of better than expected sales. This can only be a good thing for BlackBerry faithful who might still be missing their favourite app. Perhaps some solid news on sales numbers will be enough to convince holdouts such as Instagram, Spotify and Pandora that there is money to be made from BlackBerry’s 79-million strong subscriber base.