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back to article BlackBerry Messenger unleashed: Look out Twitter and Facebook

BlackBerry announced this week that its flagship messenger service, BBM, will no longer be tied to its proprietary handsets, potentially opening up a lucrative licensing stream which could rescue the beleaguered mobe-maker. Fan forums have been in meltdown after the announcement. From some, the pain appears to be personal. Odd …

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Now that is a good idea, but it is not free is it?

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The announcement was that it would be free for IOS and Android smartphones (and BlackBerry's)

I suppose that there might be some Premium content made available from various Channels but it's otherwise yours to use as you please without charge.

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the fat lady is warming up

Lots of people have always asked why BBM wasnt cross platform, and now it will be. I also belive that opening it up will kill blackberry. Lots of people are relient on BBM, but now they wont be tied to blackberries, which lets be honest, arnnt nearly as good as android or apple. When you can get BBM on an S4, why would anyone buy a Z10?

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Re: the fat lady is warming up

"which lets be honest, arnnt nearly as good as android or apple." Um. I think Blackberrys (specifically Torch 9810 and Q10, and if I'm honest my old 8230) merrily kick the living shit out of iphones and any Android offering I've seen. I *would* concede that this is a matter of opinion, but you seem convinced that you're making a statement of fact, so maybe I've missed something ... What might that thing be, pray tell?

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I agree, opening up BBM may actually kill their handset business completely as its probably the biggest differentiator they have.

Perhaps they already realize their market share is dead so are looking elsewhere for a silver lining to lean on in the future.

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Mushroom

Re: the fat lady is warming up

arnnt nearly as good as android or apple. When you can get BBM on an S4, why would anyone buy a Z10?

Blimey what a ridiculous post! I'll ignore the atrocious spelling and just look at your above statement. Have you used a Z10 at all? I assume your incredibly sweeping and unspecific comment that BBs aren't "as good" as Android or Apple refers to the OS rather than the handset - again, have you used BB10 and looked at it with an unbiased perspective, evaluating its merits and flaws, or have you just written it off and not bothered to actually comment from a position of intelligence and fairness? The second part of that comment seems to be referring to the handsets, and since the Z10s are clearly being bought (in whatever numbers you believe), clearly you're asserting that all those people should have bought an S4 instead (for unspecified reasons), and they're all deficient in some way because of that choice. Well, I had that choice, I looked at both options, chose the Z10, and am very happy with it. So to answer your question, I, at least, bought the Z10 because I liked the overall package (OS and handset) and preferred it to the other available ones.

Never used BBM myself (or Twitter or Facebook), but it's good to see BB exploring their options to try and turn things around for the company.

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Holmes

Re: the fat lady is warming up

Blimey, you are right! Why have we never realised this before? Sod consumer choice, we should all just select the current best device, which is obviously the S4 because you said so, and ignore everything else.

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Re: the fat lady is warming up

If you have actually monkeyed with a Z10, you wouldn't be so sure of the S4 kicking the Z10's butt. The one thing that does sway people toward an S4 is that there are more apps on Android than BlackBerry. But that might change as well.

I'm sitting 'till the Q10 comes out, because I don't like keyboardless smartphones.

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Re: the fat lady is warming up

You have missed something. Apps.

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FAIL

Re: the fat lady is warming up

The S4 only has a bigger screen, that's all. The Z10 is as good - if not better - than the S4... it's certainly not inferior. And now if you choose a BB10 phone you don't have to worry about not having a messaging app that your friends use because it has WhatsApp, Viber, Skype and BBM.

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Windows

@Mike

"I also belive that opening it up will kill blackberry."

And I think it will do quite the opposite. In fact, I pick it up as a direct assault on the Windows Phone, and not just that: one which is actually working too. You see; obviously Android and iOS have the biggest market share, but there are plenty of people (like myself) who don't like the idea of allowing Google to "control" their live (think Android) nor like the "overpriced" gadgets which are Apple and in many cases tied into Apple. Please note: this is my opinion on the matter, not saying it's so per definition.

So for those kinds of people the Windows Phone was quite a welcome change, and it started out pretty good as well. But the thing is: it has been going downhill ever since. My gf used to be able to use Messenger on her computer to send me an IM which I could then received on my phone when I was on the road. No more: it's now all Skype, and personally I hate Skype. Not to mention that this option doesn't work as well as it used to.

For us the instant messaging part has become a big deal, together with the option to share some kind of (shopping) list using OneNote which we can then access and modify together.

Well, BBM (link to Blackberry BBM page) looks like a very interesting replacement to me. And although OneNote (link to Office OneNote page) isn't available for the Blackberry right now a lot can happen in a year. And even if it doesn't there maybe other solutions available as well.

So... I'm a Windows phone user and right now I'm now looking at Blackberry as a possible replacement for my phone next year. That wouldn't have happened otherwise.

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WTF?

Re: the fat lady is warming up

Another clueless armachair "analyst" opinion...?

FYI BlackBerry is apparently shipping 1-2 MILLION devices per month, with their keyboard-sporting Q10 having a 3:1 ratio over the Z10 - they should sell anywhere between 10-20 million devices this fiscal year which I consider pretty healthy for any fat lady...

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Re: @Mike

Hi, @Mike

I might suggest an alternative to OneNote (which I used to use regularly). Evernote (https://evernote.com/) is cross-platform and makes a great way to keep Windows, SmartPhone, Tablet etc all in sync. I got frustrated with OneNote because it wouldn't work "everywhere".

As the topic of this article is BBM and Cross-platform I should probably point out that Evernote teamed up with BlackBerry to make itself part of BlackBerry10 . It's part of the "Remember" application so that things placed there will be part of whatever other platform that you like to use within moments.

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Mushroom

Re: the fat lady is warming up

3-6 million Blackberry devices per quarter sounds about right including the older ones. That's a massive drop compared to where they were, is following the downward slope on the graph below, and likely a barely profit making position:

http://royal.pingdom.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/rim.0031.jpg

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Anonymous Coward

This does make sense

If BlackBerry want to licence their OS technology to other manufacturers, BBM is an important part of the equation.

I suspect (and can't be more wrong than the paid analysts have proven to be in the past) that BlackBerry will focus on BBM, car services, and qwerty phones, and licence the technology to people who make slab phones. If you view the Z10 as a kind of reference design like a Nexus, it makes sense - this is the basic BB experience folks, now go and build something different.

Makers like HTC and ZTE would, I'm sure, like to have an alternative to both Android and WP so that they can distance themselves from Apple, Samsung and Nokiasoft. But they also need to believe there is an ecosystem there.

If BlackBerry churns out expensive and less expensive qwerty phones, then unlike Google they don't have the issue of competing with their licencees.

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Anonymous Coward

Too little, too late.

If they'd done this two years ago, it might have helped. Now...? Nope. We dumped Blackberries across the board last year and went with Android and GOOD Software for corp comms. No way we ewill go back.

Sorry RIM.

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Silver badge

Not sure about this

Everyone I know who has a Blackberry has a Blackberry because they want Blackberry Messenger, so although I haven't tried it myself, presumably it must be good.

At the moment, people have to make a decision when buying a phone. Do they want Blackberry Messenger, or do they want a shiny new iPhone / Android that can do all sorts of other things. They won't have to make that decision any more, as they can have both.

That leaves the qwerty keyboard as the only reason to buy a Blackberry, and there are a few Androids out there that have keyboards with physical buttons.

Given that, I can't think why anyone would want to buy a Blackberry after BBM is released on Android.

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FAIL

Re: Not sure about this

"... I can't think why anyone would want to buy a Blackberry after BBM is released on Android."

Maybe they think it works better for them.

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Anonymous Coward

What's so secure about BBM? Just a couple of years ago during the London riots RIM rolled over at the very first request for chat data!

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Maybe

With the death of MSN that all my friends used this might work.

They forced us to use skype and we all hate it.

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Re: Maybe

MSN is still alive, though the client itself is no longer downloadable. But if you did have it updated, it'll still connect.

Agreed that being forced to Skype sucks; for me Skype is the thing for VoIP calls, not for messaging.

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I long for the day when there is one decent messaging standard that all phones use, like SMS but improved.

I can't stand having to open up seperate apps depending on whether is iMessage for Apple, What's App for Android etc.

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Try WhatsApp - it's what my mates use across BB, Samsung, iPhone...

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BB10's hub effectively does that, channeling all e-mails, texts, WhatsApp messages etc into one central point, but still with the ability to filter to the specific sources.

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Thumb Up

Here, hear!

That's exactly the reason why I'm watching BB10 with great interest... just 3 months after BB10's initial launch v10.1 is out already and 10.2 is coming in a couple of months (SDK in early June, OS update a month or two later), which, among other things, will bring full Android 4.2.2 compatibility (you remember BB10 runs Android apps, right?)... and then there's this rumored 5" 1080p quad-core BB10 device, already in testing (Z15?)..

I'm so fed up with Android's disjointed-disparate communication features - which is still far ahead of iOS crude, basic servcies -, coupled with its ever-present random lags that I have to admit: these two things, full Android 4.2 runtime support and a future-proof high-end (quad-core, 1080p) hardware would immediately make me switch to BB10.

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Go

Only one commenter so far has mentioned the business/corporate side of BBM, which is where it started if I remember correctly. Surely, if their corporate software is up to scratch (which given the commenters comments it may not be), then this is the place to go for BYOD implementations. One messaging system to rule them all, any device, install BBM, corporate messaging done. No need to manage separate systems for android, iOS, Win Mobile and Blackberry, plus it's tried and tested, no new technology or upstart software companies to deal with. This must be the play, the yout' market isn't going to fill their coffers is it?

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BBM is the only thing ..

The kids used to use BB's for BBM. The latest trend is to ditch BB's and get iPhones. It's aspirational, check what handset your local 15 yr olds scaring you by hanging round your street corner have got.. It's not a BB anymore.

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Security is the USP

In spite of what AC says, I thought the key aspect of BBM was its 128 bit security. As with all security, the state will only allow its full use in normal circumstances. The London riots were an exception where BBM was used to stir up the rioting. But in normal circumstances its useful to know that your corporate messages (and even private ones) are secure.

As with all comms, the message needs to be platform agnostic and secure.

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Boffin

It has been back-doored, right?

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Anonymous Coward

I've had a BB for years (work phone) and have never used BBM so I don't see myself starting now with BBM on my personal non-BB phone.

I also recently got a Z10 at work after my Bold died and hate the UI.

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jai
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"One dimension is its reliability"

So BBM doesn't use the same network that the rest of BB uses? Cos i remember at least three major outages of the BB service at work in the last year, at least two of which were also reported here on El Reg.

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Holmes

You're Holding it Wrong

For what's it's worth*, I suspect that people may be looking at this the wrong way. The argument thus far appears to be along the lines of BBM is BlackBerry's USP - now that they've opened up their ecosystem then Apple / Samsung / OtherDroids will eat their lunch.

Which seems to be an entirely sensible posit. However, whilst it opens up BlackBerry's eco-system - it also opens up Apple's and Google's in a couple of key areas. Looking at the services a SmartPhone offers, a goodly number of them are interoperable - Cellular Voice has been open since the get go, email has been open for seemingly ever. Newer standards and market trends are opening up other services - calendar and contacts with CalDAV and WebDAV (driven in part by Google and Microsoft's current spat over EAS), and music with the death of DRM and OTT streaming.

Which still leaves a couple of important proprietary lock-in services, viz. IM and Video Calling (the former somewhat more than the latter). As SMS begins to wane, then iMessage and the like come to the fore. If everyone's peers are using iMessage to share gossip / arrange in which Pub. to meet, then the opportunity cost of having the only BlackBerry in a peer group is pretty high (a night in alone not knowing the latest goss.).

Of course, OTT services such as WhatsApp might fill this gap. But there's a cost for that. It's going to be easier to persuade people to download BBM. And then the opportunity cost of a BlackBerry is reduced, making it somewhat easier for people to consider switching. It's noticeable that Windows Phone is not invited to the party.

There are still costs around App. investment and the like - but at least you'll get a pint whilst figuring out who got off with whom last night at the party. Which might make it easier for people to consider a BlackBerry. I guess that's the hope in Waterloo.

(*Probably not much in fairness).

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Unhappy

iMessage

Is Apple sticking, with it's iMessage, to the same dumb decision (now reversed) that BB made in the first place of locking its messaging platform to its hardware?

For example, I want to be able to use iMessage on my Windows work computer to communicate with the missus as it's much more convenient that hauling a beeping phone out of my pocket, unlocking it and dabbing the screen.

In typical Apple fashion, "no can do".

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Headmaster

Based on that final screenshot,

a world without punctuation is not a world in which I wish to live, so I'll pass on BBM. Thanks for the offer, though.

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Stop

Google+ failed? Nobody told Google or the users

Did it take off like Google and the hype suggested it might? Nope. Is it dead? Far from it. It offers a lot more than Facebore ever could and I'd trust Google with my data more than I would that place.

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IT Angle

Re: Google+ failed? Nobody told Google or the users

Well, define "success"... if you take Google's relentless whoring of G+ in every conceivable online context, the PITA to avoid it when using their services, how much money they are keep throwing into adding more and more free stuff to sweeten the deal and then you look at the utter lack of buzz or noise generated by G+ I would definitely call it a failing investment...

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Great Article - Good Comments.

The title of the article was provocative and interesting. The comments have mostly stayed away from the fan-boy nonsense (from either side) which is also heartening.

BlackBerry has a vision of devices as Mobile Computing Endpoints - they should be able to do anything anywhere. BBM Channels (which are "public forums" sort of groups as opposed to the personal BBM Groups) are a really interesting new way to sort content and stay connected.

BBM can already do anything and everything that a combination of SMS, WhatsApp, Skype, MSN etc can do. If everyone had that same ability no matter the platform - then any device becomes that Mobile Computing endpoint.

Furthermore: BBM is entirely Opt-in. Anonymous SPAM and chatter is already blocked. Using it - either personally or for Channels, for example, is 100% your own choice. You only see the content that you have already previously decided to see.

Try it - you'll like it. The future looks really interesting.

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