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BlackBerry BBM Off to Quick Start

One of the most missed BlackBerry features is BBM, BlackBerry’s open-chat system that allows BlackBerry users to easily communicate with each other. Once only available to BlackBerry users, the company’s new release of a free BBM app allows those with an iPhone or Android to get in on the BBM action.

Perhaps it’s more than BlackBerry-nostalgia that propelled a staggering 10 million downloads of the new BBM app within the first 24 hours of its release; opening up BBM to iPhone and Android users brings new features to the open chat space and a vital boost to a struggling company.

BBM stands for BlackBerry Messenger and allows users to chat securely and instantaneously with other BBM users instead of through a texting plan. Through BBM, users can quickly send texts, photos, and files while also getting information about whether sent messages have been read and when the contact is in the process of responding.

BBM users can also share calendars, albums, and voice clippings. In the near future, iPhone and Android users will also have access to BBM Voice and Video calling, as well as BBM Channels, a community-building tool.

Instant chat is not a novel concept. Apps have been available for years that allow for open chat with other smartphone users, so what does BlackBerry’s new BBM app bring to the market?

According to Andrew Bocking, executive vice president of BlackBerry’s BBM, “The mobile messaging market is full of opportunity for BBM. We intend to be the leading private social network for everyone who needs the immediate communication and collaboration of instant messaging combined with the privacy, control and reliability delivered through BBM.”

In addition to BBM’s many offerings and new features in development, what really sets BBM apart is privacy. One of the unique features of BBM is the PIN system, an alphanumeric code that allows users to chat without exchanging personal information like an email address or phone number. This is particularly useful for communicating with a casual contact, with whom you would prefer not to exchange any other information. By keeping personal contact information private, BBM allows for privacy in an increasingly social world.

While BlackBerry has been a leader in the bring your own device trend thanks to its business phones and technology developments, the company has had trouble staying in the competition in recent years. With new smartphones being released on what seems like a weekly basis and BlackBerry still recovering from its delay in updating its operating system to keep up with the competition, BlackBerry’s future in the smartphone market was tenuous. However, by opening up one of its most popular features to iPhone and Android users with the release of the new BBM app, BlackBerry is back in the game.

With the impressive download rate, 60 million active BBM users per month, and more than 10 billion messages exchanged every day, the new BBM app is proving to be a strong contender in the smartphone instant chat marketplace and a much-needed lifeline for BlackBerry.

>> Download BBM for iOS from iTunes UK Store

>> Download BBM for Android from the Google Play store.

– By Jennifer Thayer

Jennifer Thayer is a technology writer who enjoys writing about gadgets, apps and the latest tech news. Follow her on Twitter to see what she uncovers next. 

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