WhatsApp to hit BlackBerry 10 app store ‘this week’ – full Arabic support

March 13, 2013 2:20 pm

The ultra-popular messaging app ‘WhatsApp’ is set to launch on the BlackBerry 10 operating system this week, according to BlackBerry execs in Dubai – with full Arabic language support.

While the new BlackBerry 10 OS launched with upwards of 70,000 apps in its BlackBerry World app store, many big names, such as Instagram, Mailbox and others, have been left out.

“WhatsApp will be [available] this week with Arabic support” said Robert Bose, Regional Managing Director of BlackBerry for the Middle East and Africa. “We recognise the importance of that app here in the Middle East,” he told AMEinfo.

The firm behind the messaging service, based in Santa Clara, California, have made headlines in recent months due to on-going security concerns. Messages are not encrypted, making them more susceptible to be intercepted than other IM alternatives.

Regardless, near the end of 2012 WhatsApp had clocked up seven billion inbound and 11 billion outbound messages in a single day, setting a new record for the cross-platform instant messaging app.

It is not yet clear whether the messages will be integrated into BlackBerry 10’s ‘Hub’ feature or exist purely as a stand-alone application.

BlackBerry still negotiating BBM video and voice for UAE

The phone maker has evolved its own messaging service BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) to include voice and video functionality. These services are available across the GCC, they remain blocked in the UAE. Despite difficult negotiations, the BlackBerry team in Mena are still negotiating for UAE users to have all the new BBM features unlocked.

“We’re working really closely with the partners here in the UAE to provide the full BlackBerry experience to all of our customers,” said Bose. “These services are available across the rest of the Gulf,” he explained.

BlackBerry execs were in Dubai today for the BlackBerry Experience Forum, an event to showcase the features functionality of the new OS and Z10 device for business users.