Android and iPhone Getting BlackBerry Messenger?

Android-BBM

You might have heard that the BlackBerry PlayBook will be able to run Android apps, but what about the other way around – what if Android ran BlackBerry apps? Rumour has it that this is exactly what’s happening; RIM is supposedly aiming to bring the legendary BlackBerry Messenger client to not only Android, but the iPhone and iPad’s iOS down the line as well. RIM had recently put the legal screws to Kik Messenger, which was offering a kind of cross-platform BBM service, and seeing as the legal action surrounded patent infringements, it would be safe to assume RIM had similar plans of their own (though there was also some concern about Kik illegally mining personal data).

BlackBerry Messenger on Android and iOS will apparently be a more stripped-down version, so don’t expect the fancy stuff like file transfers or groups, but basic instant messaging with read/unread notifications seems likely. No mention of timing, except for sometime this year, and pricing is equally up in the air; free, one-time fee, or subscription models are all possibilities.

Is this a smart move on RIM’s part? The exclusivity of BBM to BlackBerry smartphones has been a big selling point, and giving it away to the competing platforms may obliterate what little reason anyone has to pick up a RIM product. On the other hand, if RIM can be tantalizing enough with their app and rope people into using BBM to the point of becoming a necessity, then they’ll be in a position to convince folks to switch teams. The larger strategic message this would send is that RIM is losing faith in their own application platform, and is looking to use the competition to their advantage. The QNX operating system of the BlackBerry PlayBook will take some time to mature if it wants to offer anywhere near as many apps as Android, let alone iOS; in the meantime, RIM could easily take advantage of Google’s openness, even if in the process they’re making significant additions to the Android ecosystem with apps like BBM (and who knows what else… BIS e-mail?). As far as iOS is concerned, I couldn’t imagine Apple being cool with RIM horning in on their app market to woo loyal iPhone owners to the black side, but I’m sure Google would be hunky-dory with the idea of getting their tendrils into another manufacturing partner.

RIM hasn’t been shy about cross-platform work in the past – you may remember the BlackBerry Application Suite for Windows Mobile. It didn’t exactly take off, but that had more to do with WM’s puny market share than RIM’s product. Maybe another go at that strategy with a more popular smartphone OS isn’t such a bad idea… what do you guys think? Just remember to take it all with a grain of salt – there’s no hard and fast evidence of RIM making this move just yet, though the source sounds pretty confident about Android getting BBM.

[via BGR]

  • Anonymous

    For the people saying its a bad idea for RIM to bring BBM on to other platforms, I just don’t see how this is a bad thing no matter how you spin it. If someone I need to talk to decides to go with an iPhone or Android phone then i might think about switching too since I can’t BBM them anymore and if I am not gone already this only proves that no matter what blackberry faithful sticks to the BB brand. But in this case it only boosts the Blackberry awareness among other platform users and BBM will help then realize how great of an app/platform it is, this inturn will in promote the Blackberry brand value which still has not reached to the roots of the Nokia’s traditional markets. One good example is Blackberry was not known in Indonesia a few years ago and when it initially appeared in the stores people there assumed it as a KIRF brand or cheap Chinese knock off but now you will be surprised how BBM popularized the Blackberry there. Price, key board and Blackberry brand value are the key factors that will ensure success for Blackberry in the emerging economies. RIM will be back in shape with the devices slated for 2011 and QNX HH’s slated for 2012 to compete for the high end market in the developed nations.

    Apart from the BBM news I really like the Blackberry future strategy. The android application framework will be adopted to take advantage of the large app pool. Their new OS for playbook and phones going forward will be their proprietary qnx kernel and web browser along with their own app store with only approved android apps.They can control the experience and the app store to cut down on the crap apps and provide a more seamless interface.Something both samsung and motorola tried but failed miserably.

  • Jesse

    This is a bad idea for blackberry, only because bbm is practically only thing that makes people want to switch to blackberry. I was recently thinking of switching to a b;aclberry because of the fact that all my friends have one and i have a android. When my friend told me that bbm might be coming to Android and iPhone I totally changed my mine. This is good news for me, but i don’t know why anyone would switch to blackberry anymore.

  • Jesse

    This is a bad idea for blackberry, only because bbm is practically only thing that makes people want to switch to blackberry. I was recently thinking of switching to a b;aclberry because of the fact that all my friends have one and i have a android. When my friend told me that bbm might be coming to Android and iPhone I totally changed my mine. This is good news for me, but i don’t know why anyone would switch to blackberry anymore.

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