By Vamien McKalin | May 16, 2013 10:32 AM EDT
Has BlackBerry finally admitted defeat? The company has done the unthinkable by making its iconic BlackBerry Messenger service available for Android and iOS in the form of an app. This could either be the turning point for BlackBerry 10 success, or the complete end of the platform once and for all.
The BlackBerry Messenger service has been around since 2006, for a time it was the #1 messaging on app on mobile devices, but now that is no longer the case. With only around 60 million users, BBM pales in comparison to other competing messaging services such as WhatsApp, which claims a massive 200 million users, and WeChat, which claims 190 million users.
What does this all means? BlackBerry Messenger is no longer at the center stage of mobile messaging. BlackBerry must have realized this and hence the reason to make Blackberry's killer app available on other platforms. By doing this, BlackBerry could hope to increase BBM user base, which in the long run could make for potential BlackBerry 10 users.
However, there is one major hurdle if this is the plan. BBM does not offer anything unique over other competing messaging services. In fact, competing services are innovating with new and interesting features more regularly than BBM, so there is no reason for users from those services to use BBM on their non-BlackBerry platform of choice.
Bringing BBM to third party platforms might be the smartest thing BlackBerry has ever done, but as it stands, this move could be a few years too late. The space is filled with messaging apps doing the same thing and more, the only way we see BBM succeeding here is if the app brings to the table something very interesting that no other messaging app has done before. Could that happen? Probably, however, it is highly unlikely.
Because BBM is known to almost everyone who uses an Android device or an iPhone, it is possible the app might experience a lot of downloads due to users wanting to see what the fuss is all about, but that is where the success may end.
BBM for Android and iOS features:
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