Google ditches Gmail app for BlackBerry

Google is ditching its Gmail email app for BlackBerry smartphones, and will no longer offer support for the app as of the 22nd of November, concentrating instead on a "great Gmail experience in the mobile browser".

BlackBerry maker RIM hit back at Google's announcement, suggesting that the removal of the app would leave the majority of its users unaffected.

"Since 2009, RIM has incorporated native support for Gmail in BlackBerry (operating system) 5.0 and above, which means that a separate Gmail app is not required," RIM said in a statement.

"The large majority of users who access Gmail on their BlackBerry smartphone already rely on the native support (provided through BlackBerry Internet Service) rather than the separate Gmail app."

Google's decision to discontinue the BlackBerry Gmail app follows a product review that has led to a number of services including Buzz, Jaiku and Code Search being abandoned, as the company focuses more on its new Google+ social networking service.

BlackBerry owners who already have the Gmail app installed on their devices will still be able to continue using it - but the withdrawal of support will still come as a blow to the RIM, whose fortunes have faltered over the last year.

Hot on the heels of a three-day outage of the Canadian smartphone maker's BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) messaging and internet services last month, which has seen some users pursuing compensation claims through the courts, comes the recent news that a fall in share price now means that RIM stocks are worth less than the company's real-world assets.