Editorial: Blackberry Messenger (BBM) on iPhone and Android isn't the Cure for RIM's Woes


Rumour has it that Blackberry Messenger (BBM) for iPhone and Android maybe coming. Given the growing...

Rumour has it that Blackberry Messenger (BBM) for iPhone and Android maybe coming. Given the growing dominance of platform neutral chatting programs such as WhatsApp, BBM has become irrelevant and is no longer the killer feature to drive sales of Blackberries. Instead, making a more consumer oriented phone like the iPhone, while still maintaining their strengths in the corporate environment is the way forward.

By Karn G. Bulsuk

Read follow up articles: Bundle BBM with Android to Sell More Handsets, iMessage is the BlackBerry Killer
Recent rumours have suggested that RIM is looking to launch a stripped down version of their popular Blackberry Messenger (BBM) on other platforms such as Android and iPhone. At present, only owners of Blackberry devices can use BBM.

In recent years, the Blackberry has become quite popular among home consumers such as students and other non-business people because of its chatting capabilities, with mobile service providers even offering chat specific packages for Blackberry owners.

In the years since BBM was released, cross-platform competitors have sprung up such as WhatsApp and PingChat. They offer everything that BBM can provide, along with the assurance that you can chat with your friends regardless of what phone they use, including Blackberries. RIM would be stepping into an area which it pioneered, but which is now saturated with competition and offers little differentiation in terms of chatting capabilities.

If a limited version of BBM is offered to the masses, consumers would still not understand what the full BBM experience has to offer, providing no incentive for them to purchase Blackberry devices. If anything, it could even lead to negative publicity as the limitations become an issue.

Then again, even if RIM takes this idea to its logical conclusion and offers the full experience of BBM to other mobile platforms, whether for free or for a fee, it would be like handing gold to their enemies. Why would a casual consumer need to buy a Blackberry when they can purchase an iPhone and still be able to chat with their friends?

BBM Doesn't Matter Anymore

But let's be honest with ourselves: the whole debate is irrelevant. BBM is simply no longer a main selling point for consumers to buy a Blackberry, given other alternative platform neutral chat apps.

Despite their growing consumer base, Blackberry still feels very much targeted towards the corporate environment. Even the Blackberry Torch, which had potential to compete against Apple's flagship mobile device, still feels very much like a business phone from the menu-intensive OS design to the lack of entertainment apps on Blackberry App World.

If RIM wants to put 100-million Blackberrys in people's hands, they need to focus on making their phones more consumer friendly and desirable without sacrificing functions that made Blackberries so popular in the corporate world in the first place, such as encryption and physical keyboards.With companies relaxing their rules on forcing the use of company issued Blackberries only, business people are increasingly bringing in personal iPhones where they can combine both business and entertainment, all in one device. RIM should take note.
Read Follow Up Article: Bundle BBM with Android to Sell More Handsets

Photo credit: qiaomeng



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Karn G. Bulsuk: Full Speed Ahead: Editorial: Blackberry Messenger (BBM) on iPhone and Android isn't the Cure for RIM's Woes
Editorial: Blackberry Messenger (BBM) on iPhone and Android isn't the Cure for RIM's Woes
Karn G. Bulsuk: Full Speed Ahead
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