We finally have have a launch date of BBM for Android and iOS. BlackBerry messenger service (BBM) is coming to Android and iOS, sounds like ‘BBM for All’ now. The company has announced this four months back that Blackberry would be bringing its  popular messaging service to Android and iOS, and the day is finally coming. BBM app would hit the Play Store today on the 21st September at 4:30 PM IST (7:00 AM Eastern Time), and iOS on tomorrow the 22nd September at 12:01 AM in each time zone.

BBM is a data-based instant messaging network, messages are sent over private network, ensuring security and privacy. End users have long enjoyed helpful features such as notifications which show if a message was successfully sent, if it was read, and if the other party is currently typing a response. Till now, the service was exclusive to BlackBerry devices only, but will be available for Android and iOS users from today.

BBM for All

Key Features of BBM application For Android and iOS

  • Enjoy BBM chat with friends on Android, iPhone and BlackBerry smartphones.
  • With BBM you can share files on your phone such as photos and voice notes.
  • BBM Groups lets you invite up to 30 friends to chat together.
  • With Broadcast Message, you can send a message out to all your BBM contacts at once.
  • BBM lets you post a personal message, profile picture and your current status, and lets your contacts know instantly in Updates.
  • Every BBM user has a unique PIN that maintains your privacy.

According to BlackBerry, its BBM Channels feature will be made available on iOS and Android in the near future.  In addition, BBM Video calling and BBM Voice calling are planned for availability for Android and iPhone in a future version.

Despite finally bringing it’s popular and long-awaited BBM messenger to Android and iOS, it’s not all good news for Blackberry. BBM will be available on rival Android -based devices and iOS devices as a free download from 21 September. The company has already lost it’s market share against rivals like Android and iOS, and now Microsoft’s Windows Phone is also gaining momentum against the BB devices.

In the Morning when I found this line “BBM for Android and iOS now, RIP Blackberry”, sounds not good for me. I found tweets like this on my twitter timeline and felt very bad as a tech enthusiastic. I am not a market expert or any management guru, but the first thought that came in my mind after reading this was, “you planned a strategy for a better way, but your strategy is going to hit you back on the other way”.

BlackBerry, once the global leader in smartphone technology, has been losing market share in recent years to both Apple and the Android operating system, used in Samsung, HTC devices among others. It seems company is unable to match Apple’s iPhone and the sheer range of devices from Samsung and others using Google’s Android mobile system, its market share has collapsed from close to 50% in the US in 2009 to less than 3%, according to figures released by the analyst IDC. On the day the news broke, the Z10, BlackBerry’s latest, much-hyped device was being offered for $19.99 by US mobile retailer Wirefly. It was selling for $199 when it was launched earlier this year.

BlackBerry smartphone market share

The company is too much relying upon the popularity of the BBM, BBM channels and BES10 (BlackBerry Enterprise Server) to regain some lost ground among the users in the smartphone market. For now, BlackBerry is banking on its Z10 touch phone and Q10 smartphone based on its BB10 platform, and has recently announced it’s Z30 smartphone, its biggest phone featuring BlackBerry 10 operating software (OS) version 10.2 and a five-inch display.

BBM has more than 60 million customers on BlackBerry alone. The overwhelming majority use BBM an average of 90 minutes per day, and 10 million BBM messages are sent daily. BBM also facing some very hard comparisons and competitions to that of US-based WhatsApp, which is the market leader with more than 250 million active users, and WeChat from China-based Tencent Holdings Ltd isn’t too far behind with 195 million users. Another service Nimbuzz  has a little more then 150 million users, and more than 20 million users in India.

BBM has some advantage over other services

  • BBM runs on a private network, so delivery and receipts are assured.
  • BBM actually lets you know when someone has read the message as well. It’s not just a ‘read’ sign but actual delivery of a message that matters since a ‘delivered’ message indicates that the user, too, has got the message.
  • BBM is based on a personal identification number (PIN) and not on one’s phone number, it allows users to choose who they connect with “rather than become an IM (instant messaging) contact to anyone who has your number.
  • BBM does not expose your address book to the next person who takes your number.

On the popularity of the BBM service, company is trying to regain some lost ground among the users in the smartphone market. But with the availability of it’s messenger service on Android and iOS (both are sharing the larger portion of the market), it’s going to hit back. It could make Blackberry to loss some more smartphone market share. Tech pandits  are not too optimistic about BlackBerry’s future despite these moves. People can choose what device they want for work these days, and they don’t want BlackBerry. Someone who wants BlackBerry phone just for the popular BBM service, would now choose Android phone and iPhone (both will have now BBM service) for better user experience and many smart features.

Blackbery OS against iOS and Android

We have already some news in media reports of a job cut and even part or complete sale of the firm. According to the Wall Street Journal, the company is reportedly going to let 40 percent of its workforce go by the end of the year. The Wall Street Journal has also reported that BlackBerry may be looking to break off BBM into its own company. According to sources, BBM Inc. could become a subsidiary of BlackBerry that would focus solely on BBM across BlackBerry, iOS and Android devices. BlackBerry hopes that engaging users on Android and iOS with BBM could help in expanding the reach of the service and creates an asset that in theory could be sold separately.

The another interesting tweet what I Found on my timeline while writing this post is, “A moment of silence for everyone who bought blackberry just to use BBM”. That means if the company makes it’s most popular messenger service (exclusive for BlackBerry only till now) available on Android and iOS as cross-platform mobile service, will hit it back in losing more smartphone market share.

In the end it’s all about competition, if you are unable to match your competitors, you will be left far behind. BlackBerry is still trying hard to stay in the game and banking on its Z10 touch phone and Q10 smartphone based on its BB10 platform, and has recently announced it’s Z30 smartphone, its biggest phone featuring BlackBerry 10 operating software (OS) version 10.2 and a five-inch display.

So what you say? What you are, A BlackBerry Phone lover and will still choose a BB phone to use BBM service or you are going to download BBM on your Android phone or iPhone? We want to hear from you, share your views via comments!

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