BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) has long been a key selling point of Blackberry smartphones such as the Torch (9800), especially amongst the fashion conscious younger generations. Facebook is riddled with the profiles of adolescents sporting the old BlackBerry PIN.
So, what with the rumours emerging recently? That RIM, the company behind the BlackBerry, is preparing to bring BBM to competing platforms which, it has to be said, have become a lot more successful in the smartphone market, there is a sense that it’s shooting itself in the foot a little.
It has been said for a while that BlackBerry devices are more or less redundant in the sense of being a smartphone, as pretty much every reputable smartphone, to all intents and purposes, now offers all the same functionality. E-Mail, mobile internet, on-the-go document editing etc, and now RIM is offering up one of its key unique services to other platforms. Sounds strange, right?
Well that bemusing idea is not itself unique either, with Google giving up its incredible suite of cloud applications, such as Docs, Maps, Goggles and more to the iOS, the main rival of its own Android platform.
It all seems a bit odd. I mean, the majority of Google’s software is open, we get that, so it’s less surprising in that case that the software finds its way through official channels onto other platforms, but with RIM and BlackBerry platforms being entirely closed, it’s almost ridiculous. However, what you will find, should this rumour be true, is that the BBM on offer on rival platforms is not the full experience. That is to say, it will just be another messaging app, meaning you can communicate with your friends, some of which will undoubtedly own a BlackBerry. Everyone knows someone with one, don’t they?
This, then, is not as stupid as it may seem on first glance. What RIM is clearly trying to do is to prevent people straying away from BlackBerry, because the popular platform is iOS or Android. The social scene, particularly with young people, is important, so if a lot of people have an iPhone, someone else may choose to opt for Apple on the back of that. With services being integrated into other platforms as well, customers may seem less detached from people sporting rival devices and who knows, may make BBM users on other platforms at least stop and consider the BlackBerry name when they next upgrade their handset. Maybe, anyway.
Overall, it’s an interesting move and it will certainly spice up should it actually become a reality. BlackBerry Messenger is extremely popular, and having it cross-platform may just work in the favour of the much-criticised RIM mobile phones, and what with the PlayBook looking so promising, and it will unquestionably be reasonably popular when it’s finally released, BBM is only going to become a more integral part of the entire BlackBerry ecosystem.
So, what do you think of this latest news? Are you a BlackBerry owner, a regular user of the BlackBerry Messenger? Would you like to see it find its way onto other platforms, such as iOS and Android in order to communicate with friends using other platforms?
Are you an iPhone owner? Do you have an Android device? Would you rather have BBM as an almost universal mobile messaging application, or would you rather just carry on with a third party apps such like IM+?