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Blackberry apps may not have the greatest reputation in the world, but recent updates suggest that social networks haven’t given up on the old boy just yet.

Foursquare announced on Friday that it had upgraded its Blackberry app to make it “speedier” and improved the GPS logic.

But that’s not all - notifications will now delivered into the Blackberry inbox and new NFC capabilities mean users can “share places and tips among other BlackBerry and Android devices… with a simple tap of your phone.”

The updates come shortly after Twitter rolled out Promoted Tweets to Blackberry devices following similar updates on Android and iOS.

It also means that marketers can now target their messages to Blackberry users.

A blog post announcing the update said “Promoted Tweets on BlackBerry and the ability to target campaigns to specific devices and platforms will help brands more easily connect to Twitter users —anywhere, anytime.”

The fact that Foursquare and Twitter are still investing in their Blackberry apps will come as good news to RIM, but how long will it be before social networks have to make a decision on whether or not it’s worth the effort?

These updates are attempts to drag the Blackberry apps more in line with the functions already offered on iOS and Android.

But the usability will never match the slick experience on iPhone, and how long will brands be willing to compromise their brand by offering users a slow, clunky app?

There is already some anecdotal evidence that companies are beginning to lose patience. 

In February we reported on Kayak’s decision to drop its Blackberry app as the device is “not working out to be a great channel for consumer mobile applications."

Kayak says that its audience of BlackBerry users "has been declining precipitously, and we can't justify the cost any longer".

While Kayak’s travel website may not enjoy the same user numbers as Twitter, it should be cause for alarm for RIM.

At the time the manufacturer was trumpeting the fact that Blackberry’s App World has more paid downloads than the Android Market and clocks up 6m daily downloads per day.

However 6m daily downloads equates to 2bn apps each year, while Android users downloaded more than 7bn apps in 2011.

But despite the device’s shortcomings, it’s unlikely that Foursquare and Twitter will drop their Blackberry apps in the short term.

However RIM needs to vastly improve its user experience when Blackberry 10 launches later this year if it wants the social networks to keep plugging away with its operating system.

David Moth

Published 30 April, 2012 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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Comments (4)

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Elliot Reuben, Planning Director at EHS4D

Every update of these apps requires a phone reboot.

The issue isn't just whether app makers will continue to update their apps, it whether app-loving consumers will continue to buy Blackberrys when the process is so clunky and the range of choices are ever-less appealing.

about 4 years ago

David Moth

David Moth, Editor & Head of Social at EconsultancyStaff

I think a lot of it depends on advertisers as well.

As long as advertisers want to be able to target Blackberry users then Twitter will maintain its Blackberry app.

about 4 years ago

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Elliot Reuben, Planning Director at EHS4D

For sure. But Blackberry need a longer view - advertisers will only be interested as long as there's an audience worth targeting. If Blackberry don't up their game, there won't be an audience left...!

about 4 years ago

Kevin Galway

Kevin Galway, Owner at Ecommerce Consultancy

Responsive web design for mobile and all tablets is the way forward to deliver a slicker user experience.

Apps will have a natural decline in the next couple of years as brands and business take up responsive web design. Apps will be left for games, and stuff.... Otherwise it can all be done from RWD > utilising one CMS across multi-platforms.

The new challenge for designers and agencies will be how best to deploy RWD across a multitude of screen sizes, and where best placed to allow for advertising within the screen real estate.

Good times are ahead :)

about 4 years ago

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