The news is definitely a welcome news for BBM enthusiasts and lovers of the traditional messenger as they can now stay connected with their friends using other operating systems too. While BlackBerry is taking things slowly and rolling out BBM features one at a time, the move is definitely going to endear BlackBerry to BBM users and users who can now stay connected with their BlackBerry friends over BBM, irrespective of the platform.
BlackBerry plans to roll out just basic group chat features and regular messaging initially. Voice calls and other advance features will soon follow. The best part? The BBM app will remain free on both, the Play Store and iTunes. We’re a little sceptical as to how traditional BB users will react as BlackBerry charges a fee for BBM usage in BlackBerry devices!
BlackBerry messenger was a path-breaking technology a decade ago and probably the inspiration for messenger apps like Whatsapp and Viber. However, BlackBerry was definitely the pioneer of instant messenger systems.
However, BlackBerry’s one time claim to fame and the main point of purchasing a BB device (other than the QWERTY keypad and Office apps, of course) soon turned rigid and with the advent of other technologies the BBM soon turned restrictive instead of expanding and including technological advances. BBM was restricted to plain messaging till early 2013 when BB10 platform brought voice calls to BBM.
Looks like BlackBerry has now realised the importance of flexibility and instead of trying to monopolize the market with just one OS and messenger, they have bowed down to other, (arguably) better operating systems. The charm of Android and iOS is the plethora of apps and multiple choices when it comes to any function. Also, the ability to stay connected irrespective of the operating system is the USP of these apps. BlackBerry Messenger did not provide that key functionality, leading to the BBM getting an out-dated feel.
BlackBerry is a late riser but as they say better late than never. After the launch of BlackBerry Z10 based on the BB10 platform, BlackBerry earned the title of the phoenix. However, the critics snubbed the device calling it too little, too late. With a late launch for BlackBerry Messenger, we wonder if the case will be the same for BlackBerry messenger. Also, is BlackBerry digging its own grave? There are many who stick to BlackBerry just for its messenger service. By rolling out BBM to other platforms, BlackBerry might lost out on a major chunk of customers.
An over-priced Z10 already turned aspirants against BB10 and the new move might do more harm than good. However, the news is a definite welcome for non-BB users and we sincerely hope the messenger doesn’t get lost in the better, advanced, popular “messenger crowd”.