Feature Article

February 22, 2013

No Native Instagram App for BlackBerry 10

And the struggle continues! On February 21, 2013 AllThingsD reported that Instagram decided that it would not develop a native app for BlackBerry 10. AllThingsD, or All Things Digital, is an online publication that specializes in technology and startup company news.

Instagram is an online photo sharing and social networking service. It enables its users to take pictures, apply digital filters to them, and then be able to share them on a variety of social networking services, such as Facebook or Twitter. A feature of Instagram is that it limits photos to a square shape. This is very similar to the old Kodak Instamatic and Polaroid images.

Anyone who has been on Facebook knows that it is a very popular app. Therefore, it would have been a big bonus if BlackBerry could have included it as a native app. BlackBerry needs a solid collection of apps native to BB 10 in order to compete with iOS and Android.

As BlackBerry 10 works to re-establish a foothold in the smartphone market, it's considered crucial, at this point, that the platform is able to carry all the components important to users. Besides a camera, Wi-Fi support, and a well-designed interface, the smartphone also needs to be able to carry popular apps. It needs to carry a lot of popular apps, not just a few.

CNET believes that In order for users to buy a device, they'll want to have the same apps as their friends with devices from other companies. Also, to lure app developers, a platform needs to be seen as successful in the app world.

However, some people argue that a smaller app store and lack of popular apps, like Instagram, don't matter for a company that specializes in the enterprise market. And, BlackBerry 10 has managed to get several other popular native apps, such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Unfortunately, you may have read this morning that the Mall of America is dropping BlackBerry in favor of the Nokia Lumia 920. So BlackBerry is also struggling in the enterprise market, not just the app market.

Sources close to Instagram told AllThingsD that a native version of the photo sharing application is not headed to BlackBerry 10, at least not anytime soon. “There will be no [native] Instagram for BB10 for now,” said one. “Frankly, I’m not sure there will ever be.”

It looks like that for now BlackBerry would have to rely on an Android port. The source at Instagram goes on to say that when Instagram initially comes to BlackBerry 10, it will be via an Android port, assuming it's up to quality and Facebook and Instagram give it a thumbs up and sign off on it. So you can see that there is a long way to go. However, as CrackBerry writes, “Of course even an Android ported version is still Instagram on BB10, so that claim (of never) is already well on the road to being debunked. Of course, until we have an availability date officially announced, things will just continue in Instagram for BB10 limbo.”

Martyn Mallick, BlackBerry’s vice president of global alliances said, "We have a strong partnership and are actively engaged around Instagram support for BlackBerry 10, but we do not have an availability date at this point."

AllThingsD speculates that Instagram only has 20 employees and may not be able to devote the time and resources necessary to develop a BlackBerry 10 app. It goes on to say that as of today, BlackBerry 10 is not a sure bet It is clear that BlackBerry is still facing an uphill climb, more of a struggle it would seem.

On April 12, 2012, Facebook acquired Instagram for approximately $1 billion in cash and stock. It is very likely, at this point, that Facebook is the factor that is keeping Instagram from developing a native app for BlackBerry. So far it hasn’t seen the need to support BlackBerry, and there is some question as it whether it ever will.

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