Personal experience may vary, but most of the BlackBerry users I know all cite BlackBerry Messenger as a defense whenever someone says anything negative about BlackBerry. They really seem to love it, but the only people who have been able to use BBM are BlackBerry owners. That’s about to change. This summer BlackBerry will launch versions of BBM for iOS and Android. You finally be able to message for free with your one friend who still owns a BlackBerry.
Actually, according to BlackBerry CEO and Apple trash-talker Thorsten Heins, BBM has over 60 million monthly active users, which is a lot higher than I would have guessed. (I would have guessed it was 11. Not 11 million. Just 11.) The numbers are even more impressive when you add in that 51 million users are engaging with their BBM pals for at least 90 minutes per day.
BBM is feature-rich compared to almost any other messaging app, but having it locked to just BlackBerry really limits its reach, and that’s a problem for BlackBerry now that they’ve announced BBM Channels, a service that lets you have a public page that BBM users can follow. The more BBM users, the more traction BlackBerry is likely to get out of Channels.
When the iOS and Android versions launch this summer they won’t be able to interact with Channels right away, but an update will be forthcoming later this year. That update will also add voice and video functionality — that is if Apple let’s it.
It’s not likely that I’ll buy a BlackBerry any time soon, but the people I know who use BBM love it. I’ll be checking it out for Android when it becomes available. Could BBM become the one cross-platform messaging app to rule them all?
- Heins called the iPhone outdated, and that’s just adorable
- You can kind of demo BlackBerry 10 on your phone
- Research In Motion finally officially rebranded themselves as BlackBerry