Phones Review

BBM release for Android and iOS mistimed

Under: Android OS Apps, Apps, iOS Apps
By:Debbie Turner | September 10th, 2013

It seems an age ago that BlackBerry announced that its BlackBerry Messenger service was going cross-platform with the launch of a BBM app for Android and iPhone. We’re still waiting for the apps to appear but it’s becoming clear that the BBM release for Android and iOS has been mistimed.

BBM was a huge force in messaging services when it first launched and created a unique niche at that time, but there are now a vast amount of other messaging services and apps available that have encroached on this market such as WeChat and WhatsApp.

We’ve been following the developments of the BBM apps for Android and iOS with interest and have noted several times that BBM for these platforms could simply be too late. This has been further reinforced with news about waning interest in BBM.

We’ve found that our BBM posts still create plenty of interest amongst our readers, but generally the signs are not promising for BBM when looking at Google search interest. There is now 95 times as much volume on Google search for WhatsApp as BBM, but what should be of even more concern for BlackBerry is the rise of second-shelf apps.

Kik ad Viber are definite B-listers when it comes to messaging apps but are still spawning huge growths in search volume. Despite their lowlier place among messaging apps they are still producing 10 times as much search interest as BBM, and that cannot be a good indicator for BBM on Android and iOS.

We have constantly noted that BlackBerry should have gone cross-platform years ago, and now those at BlackBerry must be kicking themselves at a missed opportunity. Both Viber and Kik only started to forge ahead in late 2011, which clearly illustrates how much better it would have been if BBM had been released for Android and iOS at a much earlier stage.

The release of the Android and iOS BBM apps two years ago would have given BlackBerry Messenger a much better chance of maintaining its position in the market, but now it will be fighting an uphill battle.

It’s reported that messaging apps such as LINE, WeChat and WhatsApp now have the opportunity to achieve user bases of around half a billion users within the next two years and that could be a bitter pill for BlackBerry to swallow.

Despite the fact that we are still seeing plenty of media interest in BBM for iOS and Android, search volumes for “BlackBerry Messenger” have been trending flat or down since August 2010. Those at BlackBerry must at least be wondering why they didn’t make more of an attempt to go cross-platform many moons ago.

The Android and iOS BBM apps are due to release at any time and do look closer to release. First we heard that the BBM for iOS app has already been submitted to Apple for approval on the App Store, and then yesterday we told of a public viewing of the apps.

What are your thoughts on this BBM saga? Are you one of those still waiting for the BBM for Android and iOS apps to release? Do you think BlackBerry will rue a golden opportunity being missed because it didn’t launch the apps earlier? Let us know by sending your comments.

Source: BGR

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  • http://www.shalabhbatra.com/ Shalabh Batra

    BBM is most missed by BB users who later shifted to devices of android/ ios. These users will always shift to BBM once it gets launched. Advantages of sharing a BB pin instead of phone num is a huge advantage for privacy. There are many who dislike the last seen status of whatsapp . BBM status of read for individual messages will take care of this problem. It is sure a uphill task but people will shift and BBM will rise to top for sure slowly.

    • Squirt

      You’re definitely right. There are Blackberry loyalists around who will not drop BBM just like that. I myself just used BBM for 2 months (just tried it then sold the phone) and I’m patiently waiting for the app to get released, I have a lot of friends with BB phone and I’m missing a lot of their BBM conversation because I’m on iPhone.

      Although I’ve read that BBM for iOS will not be PIN based, but a user ID or something (same thing for Android I think)

      • Bonedatt

        I haven’t used a BB since 2009 and I don’t miss it. I do however miss the BBM since most of my acquaintances especially those in Africa’s emerging markets still use BB. It would be interesting to see how BBM works on non BB devices, since like you pointed out, won’t have the capabilities of PIN sharing. BTW, is the PIN sharing a hardware or software issue on B&B’s part?

        • Squirt

          Since PINs are unique for every BB, I’d guess hardware.

          If you have tried the new BBM in BB10 phones (Z10 and Q10), the interface in nonBB phones are actually similar, so BB users won’t have a hard time adjusting with the app (or no adjustment needed actually). I’ve seen some video demos.

          I actually hope that BBM would become successful that everyone will use it as standard IM app. Im pretty annoyed that my contacts use different services (WeChat, Line, Whatsapp, Viber, etc) so I have to install them all just to stay connected. I try to stay away from SMS as much as I can to save some money you know :P

          • Cks Stv

            I don’t know where you live but in some countries you can have unlimited sms all day long by paying only $0.016. But still those messaging apps are better because they have not only text voice, video, images, etc

          • Squirt

            We do have unlimited text rates here as well and even unlimited calls. But you have to pay extra (it’s not really expensive but it isn’t that cheap too) on top of your regular monthly bill as they are considered “add ons”. And it’s only unlimited if you text or call a person using the same carrier or provider (although we only have two main carriers here and the one I’m on is dominant where most of my contacts are all subscribed too).

            I used to have unlimited text and call on top of my unlimited data, but now I’m just keeping unlimited data with ‘consumable’ text and call instead. There’s no reason for me to get unlimited text/calls anymore since, like what I mentioned, majority of my contacts are in messaging and voice apps now.

        • Codiak

          BBM on other platforms will work off BBID, PIN is only on BlackBerry devices as its built into the hardware You can add contacts via PIN, email, phone number or BBID.

    • DRG

      BBM is simply superior to WhatsApp in functionality, speed and privacy. If enough ex-BB users convince Android and iOS users to try it, they will see the advantages.

  • BeanTNT

    You write the same exact article every day with very little blog writing professionalism. You sound like an 8th grader. You write “it seems” over and over as if you’ve taken surveys across the globe. Finally, you obviously know nothing about BBM.

    • brian

      Many writers use similar type of language which is basically a method of lying by technically not lying. The number one way to counter falsehoods and propaganda is to call it out. eg. This is an anti-Blackberry hit piece.

  • charlie2010

    re: have noted several times that BBM for these platforms could simply be too late
    Too late for what? They’re starting with an active user base of 40 million users and now they are opening up to iOS and Android, do you expect the number of users to decrease…c’mon, get serious….is this article cheap link bait?

  • Parkspur

    BBM has a 60 million active user base on BlackBerry smartphones.
    Of course other messaging apps like WhatsApp will be getting higher number of searches because people know it’s available for other platforms.
    When BBM is released for Android & iOS it’ll be well received (by ex-BlackBerry users) and this will grow as new users discover the beauty of BBM.
    Not long to wait now! :)

  • Joe

    If people can use BBM on a different platform, you will find even more people migrating from Blacberry Phones to Android or iOS, in South Africa the only thing holding most people from migrating was BBM and unlimited data usage with the Blackberry service. The Blackberry Service has now been limited to 200megs and thus only thing remaining is the BBM.

  • Science Boy

    Lame analysis. People said Whatsapp couldn’t compete with Facebook… and yet, here it is. BBM already has 60 million users and a great many more who miss it from when they had blackberries. On top of that BBM is way better than the other social and messaging apps because it is all of those things wrapped up in one. Mistimed? Perhaps, but it won’t matter in the end. BBM will be a force to reckon with.

    • Jim

      Good comment. You can’t go back in time. When people try BBM and if they notice a big performance difference it will take off. When BlackBerry moved to activesync for email they both standardized on email and they freed up big bandwidth on the worldwide network they have. BBM is going to be fast and you won’t have the same type of security issues, no phone numbers, etc.

  • Guest

    I know loads of people who want bbm come out as well as I, I have to use a different messanger which isn’t half as good to contact and send pictures or videos for free I’ve been waiting for bbm to come out for a long time and I think blackberry is better releasing it on android and ios so then all the phones can be connected with a brilliant messanger

  • Superfly_FR

    Why would you check for BBM in search engines while it’s a built-in feature (and not app) of any BB device ? On the metrics side, you’re certainly aware that several false BBM apps have appeared in Androids’ markets resulting in 10s of thousands downloads within hours, before they get blocked.

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