After A Change Of Heart, WhatsApp Officially Debuts On BlackBerry 10

When BlackBerry 10 launched, it did so with a dearth of big-name applications available in its BlackBerry World content portal. Even now some companies (I’m looking at you Netflix) continue to shy away from the platform, but at least one company has changed its tune on the BlackBerry 10. After a representative noted late last year that the team had “no plans to support” BlackBerry’s new OS, WhatsApp is now available for download on BlackBerry 10 devices.

That WhatsApp would ultimately embrace BlackBerry 10 is hardly a shock — the Santa Clara-based company has maintained a BlackBerry 7 version of the popular messaging app for a while now, and VP Martyn Mallick confirmed at the BlackBerry 10 launch event that WhatsApp had officially decided to throw its weight behind the new platform. Unlike some recently spotted versions of Instagram and Netflix, WhatsApp for BlackBerry 10 is a fully native application (a factoid that was originally confirmed by WhatsApp’s Neeraj Arora through a tweet late last month).

Existing WhatsApp users can expect a familiar experience, but the newfangled BlackBerry 10 version of the app features “real-time push notifications” that are displayed even if you haven’t unlocked your device, as well as tight integration with BlackBerry Contacts to streamline the onboarding process.

While the arrival of WhatsApp is sure to thrill some parts of BlackBerry’s user base, one has to wonder what sort of effect this will have on BlackBerry’s Messenger service. After all, BBM has long been one of the company’s stickiest features, but 2012 saw the service’s popularity start to wane thanks in part to some very public service outages and the growth of notable rivals like Apple’s iMessage and startups like Kik and (of course) WhatsApp.