But according to ZDNet, Korea’s still smallish band of BlackBerry users is less than impressed.
The problem is that this isn’t the first time a release date has been mooted for the hugely popular mobile messenger service. According to ZDNet, Kakao Talk first announced it was developing a BlackBerry version in February. After a lack of further news, the launch was supposed to take place by the beginning of this month, until the following message appeared on BlackBerry Korea’s Facebook page last week:
We are in the process of developing Kakao Talk for BlackBerries, and we’re planning to launch it sometime between the end of June and the beginning of July. We don’t yet have a definite release date, but we are working closely with Kakao Talk to ensure there are no problems.
We’ll keep you posted on any new news here, so be sure to keep visiting.
These delays, says ZDNet, are giving the impression that BlackBerry is neglecting the Korean market and its 100,000 or so BlackBerry users (a little less than 1 percent of the overall smartphone market). RIM flatly denies this, saying that any suggestions that it isn’t cooperating with Kakao Talk are groundless.
ZDNet quotes a representative of RIM as saying:
We’re working closely with Kakao Talk on the development and launch. There are rumours that RIM’s head office isn’t being cooperative, but this official announcement is intended to put an end to them.
These words haven’t been enough to quell the gripes of Korea’s netizens, however, who decry the “inconvenience” and “inadequacy” of the current selection of apps available in Korea. Some even say they’re considering switching brands.
Though alternatives exist (What’sApp being a prime example), their relatively low number of users in Korea makes them a less than ideal substitute. In addition, while My People has also announced plans for a BlackBerry version, an official launch date has yet to be announced.
As a BlackBery user in Korea, it is a bit of a pain that Kakao Talk (along with many other Korean apps) isn’t yet available here — not least because the What’sApp interface, IMHO, is strikingly dull. Here’s hoping the Facebook announcement is the real deal this time.