BB10 WhatsApp users can use the app after December 2016
Love it or hate it, WhatsApp is a hugely popular messaging app. According to the Google Play Store, it has had 1 billion downloads to date. Unfortunately for BlackBerry 10 and legacy OS users, WhatsApp (which is owned by Facebook) says it will not support development of the app for BlackBerry, from December 31 this year. As that deadline approaches, WhatsApp has been actively encouraging BlackBerry users to move to supported platforms, such as Android and iOS.
Let me be honest, this announcement put the fear of the devil in me and led me to delve into the Android OS seriously, almost two months ago. You see, just about all of my contacts are on WhatsApp because the app automatically populates my phonebook with any of my contacts that are using it. This is very convenient but of course, there is no privacy. Complete strangers are able to message me, get my contact number, etc., because of the way this app works. It is not as private and secure as BlackBerry Messenger, but millions – or should I say 1 billion plus – users have been taken in.
What can users do?
Anyway, coming to the point of this article: I came across a video on YouTube, which offered me comfort. Jan Ole Helmbold was a BlackBerry fan of the month not very long ago and won himself a PRIV by BlackBerry. Jan has done a video (you can watch it here) that seeks to allay WhatsApp users’ fears that they will not be able to use it on their BB10 phones after December. He says they simply need to download the WhatsApp APK from Android app stores such as 1Mobile, or perhaps the Google Play Store using Snap and sideload the app on their phone. He says it works almost flawlessly; The only challenge is that photos cannot be taken from within the app – users have to use the BB10 camera app for that.
This has come as a revelation to me. Perhaps I should say it has come as a reminder to me. I know that BB10 can run many Android APKs, but the level of denigration of BB10 in Whatsapp’s End of Life announcement was such that my mind was temporarily blanked out. The fear of death was put in me and I forgot that I could still use the Android version of WhatsApp on my BB10 device after December 31. This message needs to be publicized in the community, lest we lose BlackBerry fans because they were lied to that their devices would be “useless” after December 31, on account of WhatsApp not supporting BB10.
About the author
Sipo Kapumba is a journalist and technology fan. He has been using BlackBerry phones since 2008, starting with the BlackBerry 8820, then the Z10, Z30 and finally the BlackBerry Passport.