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Google Drops Gmail Application for BlackBerry Smartphone

Google Inc., the maker of Android software for mobile phones, will stop supporting the Gmail application for rival BlackBerry smartphones made by Research In Motion Ltd. The app for Google's Web-based e-mail will no longer be available as of Nov. 22 and won't be supported after that, the Mountain View, California-based company said in a bl...og posting. Users may continue to use the app if already downloaded, Google said. RIM is struggling to find ways to stop a decline in smartphone market share as customers increasingly opt for Android devices or Apple Inc.'s iPhone. Google's move is an inconvenience for BlackBerry users with a Gmail account who want to access those messages on the go and also a signal to RIM more than anything else, said analyst Roger Entner. BlackBerry users that want to access their Gmail accounts will still be able to do so on their phone's Web browser, or by synchronizing their Google account with BlackBerry service. Google said it is stopping development of its app for BlackBerrys to focus on the mobile browser experience, without elaborating further. RIM's share of the global smartphone market fell 5 percentage points to 10 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier, according to research firm IDC. Its market share in the U.S. alone dropped to 9 percent from 24 percent, according to another researcher Canalys.

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