Tag Archive: BlackBerry Messenger

BBM Finally Launches on iPhone and Android

404524-bbmIt has taken much longer than many industry watchers predicted, but Blackberry has finally gotten around to releasing a BBM app for iPhone and Android. The company has had a tough time of it lately, but maybe software is the way to keep the lights on. The app is now live in the App Store and Google Play, but there a waiting list.

BBM leaked on Android a few weeks back when the company was preparing for launch. The influx of new users caused server issues for Blackberry and delayed the launch. This is the reason for the waiting list, which most users will be subjected to. Anyone who signed up ahead of time for the service on the BBM website can log right in, but otherwise you’ll have to provide an email address and wait it out.

When you do get access, you’ll make a Blackberry ID and add your personal information. If you’ve used BBM on a Blackberry in the past, your contacts will populate immediately. If not, you’ll have to invite people. This process is different (and a bit counterintuitive) for first time users. BBM makes contact lists more secure, so you have to send the invite based on PIN, NFC pairing, or sending an email. You only get the contact added when the other party accepts the invitation.

BBM was the originator of the modern read receipt, and while that’s been replicated in both iMessage and Hangouts, BBM still does it pretty well. You can also do group chats, share pictures, and send files. It basically does all the stuff the first-part messaging clients do, but it’s running through Blackberry’s servers. If you’re worried about security, this should be on your radar.

The app is available for iPhone and Android phones. There isn’t any tablet support at this time.

Source: PC Magazine

Ryan Says: About FREAKING time!  Buh Bye WhatsApp!

BBM 6.0 Brings Social To Mobile Apps

Research In Motion announced BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) 6.0, a significant shift that takes one of the BlackBerry smartphone’s most popular native applications, and turns it from being a mere instant messaging service into a social platform for other BlackBerry applications that take advantage of the new BBM SDK. RIM demonstrated some of the new BBM capabilities at BlackBerry World this spring, and while this may not cause a developer stampede to write BlackBerry apps, it sure could benefit those who already do.

RIM says that there are 45 million BBM users, and that it activates 2 million new BBM accounts each month. The company says 70% of BBM customers use it daily and that those users send more than 100 billion messages each month. In other words, it’s been an overwhelming hit. Now RIM is wisely leveraging that popularity in a way that will not only make mobile app developers happy, but also create new app-embedded social experiences for its customers. Real-time instant messaging may not be the bedrock of your day, but this is a feature other mobile platform vendors will want to emulate. It is also further demonstration of RIM’s desire to create an ecosystem around what it calls Super Apps, or applications that become part of the underlying system infrastructure on a BlackBerry device.

For example, developers can add the ability to use BBM from within an app to invite a friend to download that app, with a mere line of code. RIM calls this viral distribution. Apps can also take advantage of BBM profile information, including the user’s name, avatar, and status, for a more customized application experience. Similarly, an application can update BBM profile information. For example, if you’re listening to a song in a music app, that song can become part of a BBM status update that all of your BBM friends can see.

Apps can also take advantage of a custom profile box. This box allows for more frequent updates, say for when you’re reading items in a news app. BBM friends who view that update can use that information to take them to the same application and read the news item as well. RIM calls this “inherent viral distribution,” which is Canadian for “nifty.” The idea here, then, isn’t just to create more rapid updates, but to do so in an application context, explained Brian Zubert, RIM’s team lead for developer relations.

Any and all of these application-context situations can also trigger BBM friends to download apps they don’t have; another boost for developers. Zubert said that most applications experience an initial usage spike when the user is enamored of the new app. Usage then levels off or disappears altogether, presumably as the user moves on to the next shiny app. One of the goals RIM has with BBM 6.0 is to change that behavior. “Nothing breeds retention like friends driving you back to apps,” he said. In many ways, Zubert said, the BlackBerry push service was all about driving content to users and driving those users back to an app. The same concept applies to BBM 6.0.

Apps can also leverage BBM’s chat features. Zubert offered the example of a virtual book club, where two BlackBerry users are reading the same book, and chat about it through BBM, right from inside the e-book app. These chats can happen anonymously, meaning you don’t have to be BBM friends to use BBM within apps, say for game playing or discussion boards. “Friends of convenience,” RIM calls this. Those guys have a phrase for everything.

RIM also believes these capabilities will drive people to extend their BBM world (or social graph, in cool kids’ parlance). Apps can also attempt to bring friends together, based on knowing who the app users are, and what their BlackBerry IDs are. This strikes me as a little creepy, but Zubert reminded me that you can go into permissions management and disable this sort of thing on a per-app basis; for instance, you can restrict an app from accessing your contact list. Zubert assured me that an app would have to get your permission to even send out a new BBM friend request.

BBM 6.0 has been in beta since January, and is available now in the BlackBerry App World. Several applications take advantage of these new capabilities, including FourSquare, Wikitude, Poynt, Huffington Post, and Backgammon King, among others.

Here’s a demonstration of BBM functionality in FourSquare:


Ryan:  I’m still waiting for BBM to be ported over to Android and Apple devices.

Source: InformationWeek


BlackBerry Messenger will launch on Android and iOS

Research In Motion is planning to bring its beloved BlackBerry Messenger app and service to Android, and eventually to iOS as well. According to our sources, RIM has not yet finalized details surrounding timing or pricing, but we have heard that the company might make the software free to all users. We’re also told strategy is still being developed, however, and RIM may end up charging users a one-time fee or even a recurring fee for access to its BBM service on third-party platforms.

It might seem a bit strange for RIM to want to bring the software that is responsible for keeping BlackBerry devices in the hands of countless potential defectors, but in the big picture, we think it could make sense. The company is getting very frustrated with applications like WhatsApp and Kik offering third-party experiences based on a concept RIM invented, and RIM apparently wants to own the space.

As far as what Android and iOS users can look forward to, we’ve been told RIM will offer stripped down versions of the BBM experience BlackBerry owners know and love. That way, Android and iOS users can communicate with practically anyone who has a smartphone using BBM, but they might not be able to share photos, location, or videos (when RIM crosses that bridge). Users who want the full BlackBerry Messenger experience will still need a BlackBerry smartphone to get it. At the same time, RIM could own the entire messaging app category on every major smartphone OS platform and could potentially draw new users in because it has given them a taste of what BlackBerry Messenger is all about.

Right now, we have heard that Android is definitely a go. But again, we’re not sure on timing, though our sources are confident that it will launch some time this year. RIM chose Android first because of the fact that it could develop and integrate something like this much easier with an open platform, but the plan is to build and deploy an iOS version at some point as well.

Source: BGR