BlackBerry might be attempting a very risky move soon with BBM. Many BlackBerry users stick to the platform primarily because of BBM – it is free and (arguably) a lot more stable and reliable than other mobile services like Whatsapp. It does however have a few criticisms – biggest of which is the BlackBerry only nature of communication. You might have BBM, but if your buddy does not have a BlackBerry, well, you will need to use other channels.
Recently leaked images (by TechnoBuffalo) of BBM running on an Android device seem to suggest that RIM is looking at broadening the install base of BBM to other platforms. Current supports seem to suggest that BBM might be coming to Apple’s iOS and Microsoft’s Windows Phone platforms. The leaked images on the Android device seem to share the same basic minimalistic interface design as the BlackBerry version, and the app logo also uses the BlackBerry Messaging logo.
But will this make business sense for BlackBerry? The company is facing some strange times. While their first world customers seem to be jumping ship to iOS and Android, BlackBerry reckons they can still hold onto their loyal Enterprise customers. But there is a big shift happening – employees do not want business provisioned handsets anymore, they want choice. They want to run their always-relied-upon apps on whichever device they want to. Taking this into account, the current BlackBerry only BBM model is starting to look more and more antiquated every day.
But then there is the flip side of the coin – part of the reason for BlackBerry’s popularity comes down to the massive use of BBM among the youth, all over the world. Just look at the recent London riots for evidence. There is still a massive market who wants cheap and reliable text communication, and for RIM to give away that competitive advantage is a very risky move indeed. Of course choice is always great for the consumer at the end of the day, but will this not make the BlackBerry ship sink a little faster?
What do you think – should RIM open up BBM to other platforms?