Yeah you read that correctly. BlackBerry is updating their famous BlackBerry Messenger app to now support Gingerbread (v2.3.3) users. If you happen to live in a cave or just want to be an Android hipster then this is the perfect update for you.
Jeff Gadway says that the BlackBerry team is ahead of schedule with the planned February release and is currently moving into an external beta. What is interesting is how he describes the update. He calls it a “special release” which could mean that instead of being an update to the current app, it would be a new app all on its own. If this were the case, then hopefully they wouldn’t be stripping down features to accommodate those Gingerbread users and give them a lackluster experience. Then again, I don’t think those Gingerbread users really care so much about having the latest and greatest.
Why even bother supporting Gingerbread devices you may ask? According to Google’s official Android blog, Gingerbread is currently running on 21.2% of all Android devices. That is a lot of stale Gingerbread! Back in September, Sundar Pichai, posted on his Google+ that there was a total of 1 billion Android activations worldwide. This app overhaul would now allow a whopping 98.7% of those Android devices to be able to use the secure messaging service.
All jokes aside, this is a great move by BlackBerry. It shows that they are really trying to make an attempt and get the most users on their system even if those users are using an outdated mobile OS. In BlackBerry’s world Android fragmentation doesn’t exist and this is the type of developer that users need. Now only if they could get 987 million people using BlackBerry 10…I’d like to see some innovative pressure put on Google and Apple.
Source 2: Android Dashboard
Source 3: Sundar Pichai
Note from the author: seriously folks, go upgrade from your Gingerbread device. You are missing out.
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