Google has announced that they’re ceasing support for their dedicated BlackBerry Gmail app in favour of working on working on their web apps. While you’ll still be able to use the app if you’ve already got it installed, it won’t be available for download after November 22.
It might be easy to cast this as yet another doom-and-gloom story for RIM, but siding with the web is very much in-line with Google’s ongoing development strategy, and besides, Gmail integration with the native BlackBerry e-mail client is about as good as you could expect. Thanks to a plug-in launched awhile back, you can star items, archive e-mails, view threaded conversations, and add labels within the familiar BlackBerry interface. Beyond that, BlackBerry Internet Service has tight two-way sync for Gmail contacts and calendar, which has made the Gmail app fairly redundant for some time.
While the Gmail app for BlackBerry smartphones might not be particularly missed, the best we’ve seen on the BlackBerry PlayBoook tablet is a preloaded browser shortcut. Honestly, the web app for tablets is seriously lacking. You can’t attach files to e-mails, perform advanced searches, or drill down into the contacts section to add or edit entries. Sure, RIM might get around to doing their own stand-alone native apps sometime in February, but I’m going to guess that after BlackBerry decided to shack up with Bing and aggressively poach Android apps for the PlayBook, we aren’t going to see Google investing a lot of time and effort into BBX.