RIM’s BBM Coming for Google Android and Apple iOS

I am an Android user. I have a Samsung Galaxy S. However, I used to be a Nokia (Symbian OS) person, switched briefly to iPhone’s iOS and passed through a Blackberry Bold 2, before finally seeing the light…

6 months after my thorough love affair with Google’s mobile platform though, and nearly a year with my iPad’s iOS, with all the apps and the pros and cons of Android and iOS, the bottom line is NO ONE can rival RIM’s super-reliable email and instant messaging services.

No matter what app I use, my email sending and receiving barely compares to the very low-maintenance but extremely reliable Bold 2 email retrieval.

As for instant messaging, I hate Whatsapp, and for some reason, the SGS version is laggier than Nimbuzz =.

I love Gtalk (Google Talk) but unfortunately, not enough people use it, and you cannot send images, sound clips or locations through it.

Kik is promising, but when RIM banned it on its OS, it sorta killed the pan-platform aspect of the start-up.

Read my Kik vs Whatsapp post

That’s about it when it comes to somewhat cross-platform chat clients. But, let’s face it, the Blackberry Messenger’s reliability (arguable in Lebanon) and its added features makes it virtually crash-proof, easy to access and accessible to even the least tech-savvy user. I mean, I’m sure most of your parents have no idea what an app or jailbreak is, yet they’re on your BBM contact lists…

In fact, the main reason most of the Lebanese population switched to BBs in the last two years, is solely for the BBM service.

But, several tech blogs have been reporting plans by Research in Motion (RIM), the Canadian company that manufactures BBs and provides the BB service (for free and unlimited to its devices, yet at 44$ for us in Lebanon for a pathetic 100 MB), has indicated it will make a stripped-down version of BBM available on Android and iOS platforms.

This, for Android and iOS users, myself included, is an amazing possibility. Even though we probably will not be able to send images to sound clips, we will at least be able to connect BB-Android-iOS with the reliability and practicality of BBM. The “check” “D for delivered” and “R for read” will also be a much better alternative than the seemingly arbitrary Whatsapp double checks.

So, the BBM club will no longer be exclusive, and RIM’s main competitor devices will be able to tap into this service. This seems like the logical thing to do, after all the BBM is basically a social network, with certain business-oriented features that make it practical, like confidentiality and instantaneous input on whether your message was delivered and read or not, a feature not provided by email services, or at least not at a fast enough pace for today’s supercharged business environments.

So, of course, more users = better social network. But, when one thinks about it for a minute, the main reason people go BB and stay there, is the BBM and email services. I believe many BB users would gladly trade in their Bold 3s for an iPhone4 or Nexus S. RIM probably believes though that the stripped-down version of BBM will get Android and iOS users hooked, so they migrate to BB from their current devices. So, RIM would either be signing its death warrant, or a very smart business move….

I for one am extremely excited about this news, and really hope the BBM will become cross-platform. RIM has a policy of no commenting on speculations, so we can’t really know if, and when this new BBM will be released. However, speculations are that the cross-platform BBM will be released with the much-anticipated release of the BB OS 6.1 later this year. So, this might become a reality in the next few months, and not a moment too soon!

Special thanks to Joe K9 for pointing this out to me


  1. says

    Actually Hadi, it will be called BBM cause it is the BB servers that are providing this service, so that’s not an issue which device it is used on.
    Also, it seems like its just a matter of time, and hopefully in the next few months we will see it released

  2. says

    That would actually be amazing. I have a BB right now, mostly to talk to a few people via BBM. I am dying to switch to android. Here’s hoping that’s true!

  3. says

    RIM will most likely be unveiling OS 6.1 during the Blackberry World event that’s taking place 3-5 this coming May. If there’s gonna be a “new” BBM for other platforms, they’re gonna announce it ma3 the 6.1

  4. says

    It’s definitely a possibility. Although it’s a risky move for RIM, one could argue that the way a blackberry feels and the speed of use (emails, texts, bbms, notes…) will always make bb better on blackberry and perhaps a release of bbm on iphone will highlight that its not just about the service that people love their blackberrys but also about the feel. It could be a way for RIM of saying “People only have blackberrys for bbm? Well you will see that even with bbm on other platforms it won’t make a difference”. I was on a 3g then 3gs then I went with a bold, in January I switched to iphone 4.. and by mid-March I was back on my old bold just because I missed its quickness.

    • says

      Tritan, you’re absolutely right. The speed and ease of IM and email on BB can never be replaced by an app.
      However, the real treasure here isn’t the obliteration of RIM (unfortunately =P), but the fact that a truly ubiquitous IM app can finally be available. Whatsapp sorta does that, but not as well. I guess only time will tell what this move might mean, but as for the “feel” of email and IM on BBs, I’m 100% with you after my experience with my Bold 2


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