You might remember that there was talk awhile back about RIM’s well-known instant-messaging client, BBM, would be making its way to Android and eventually iOS. The first signs of such an app have just surfaced, showing the standard BlackBerry Messenger profile page, but not much else. The app icon doesn’t look great right now, but BBM for Android is still in testing (albeit late stages, according to the source). Native Android notifications are reportedly working well, but the full extent of BBM features aren’t quite known for sure.
Even though I’m a big BlackBerry fan, I don’t use BBM that much, and see most of the excitement surrounding it as a relic of a time when instant messaging aside from SMS was nonexistant. Read/recieved notifications are nice and all, and I could see how shared calendars, pictures, and lists within groups could be useful, but only if all of your friends own a BlackBerry, which obviously isn’t the case anymore. Google Talk meets my instant messaging needs much better exactly because it’s cross-platform, and BBM may find some renewed use if some of my friends without BlackBerry devices could get in touch with me through it. That said, if RIM wants to keep BBM as a sellable feature, they’re going to have to go cross-platform; they’ve already announced that their enterprise products are headed that way, and the PlayBook will echo the sentiment with its Android app player. Projects that leverage BlackBerry Messenger (like BBM Music) might not be particularly attractive when they’re limited to RIM smartphones, but if that market were suddenly opened up to a wider range of phones, devs may find a reason to make their apps BBM-connected with the available tools. While I doubt that the taste of BBM on Android will be enough to get owners to make their next phone a BlackBerry, RIM may still make a bit of coin if they charge for the core BBM app on other platforms.
We may end up seeing BlackBerry Messenger for Android before 2012 hits, which means a preview may be in order at BlackBerry DevCon in a few short weeks. Anyone excited to give it a shot, or are the multitude of existing cross-platform instant messaging clients enough to keep you connected?
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