Yes, 2013 has been a hellish ordeal for BlackBerry. The saga may soon be over if the $4.7 billion Fairfax deal happens, but in the meantime there was finally a ray of light this weekend as the BBM blog announced an unofficial leak of BlackBerry Messenger for Android received an impressive 1.1 million downloads in just eight hours. This leak triggered a delay for the release of the official version, which messed up the plans to get BBM for Android out by Sunday… because it wouldn’t be BlackBerry without some kind of launch disaster. But hitting 1.1 million downloads for the Android app is a real feat, no matter how you slice it. More →
When it rains it pours for BlackBerry. Although there has been considerable interest in the new cross-platform version of BlackBerry Messenger, BlackBerry announced on Monday that the launch of BBM for iOS and Android has been delayed for at least another week. BlackBerry’s BBM chief Andrew Bocking said in a company blog post that the delay happened after “an unreleased, older version of the BBM for Android app was posted on numerous file sharing sites,” which “resulted in volumes of data traffic orders of magnitude higher than normal for each active user and impacted the system in abnormal ways.” The BBM team is now working to completely block the leaked versions of BBM from accessing BlackBerry’s servers before it launches the final version of the app. Bocking said that the fix isn’t expected to occur this week.
Here’s a bit of good news that could help BlackBerry spread its BlackBerry Messenger service to more Android phones: Samsung has started using its considerable marketing prowess to promote BBM on its Galaxy devices. CrackBerry has spotted some teaser ads posted on both YouTube and Samsung’s Ghana Facebook page showing that Samsung will be touting the preloaded BBM has a key feature of its smartphones. Although the original videos have at this time been removed by Samsung Ghana, the company’s Facebook page still shows a teaser picture asking users to guess what new messaging service will soon be available on Galaxy phones. Given that BlackBerry Messenger is a key communications app in many African countries it makes sense for Samsung to spend some advertising dollars pushing it in Ghana.
The private beta of BlackBerry Messenger for iOS and Android is starting to trickle out to testers. BBM cannot debut soon enough as several leading cross-platform messaging apps have gone on a massive growth rampage in recent months. WeChat rocketed from the No. 76 free iPhone app in South Africa at the end of June to the No. 1 app in a week. It has since remained the most downloaded app in South Africa, which just happens to be BlackBerry’s linchpin market in the continent. In another old BlackBerry boom market, Brazil, WeChat exploded from the No. 1000 most downloaded app to the No. 1 spot in two weeks. More →
This would have been a much bigger deal a couple years back, but BlackBerry Messenger is indeed coming to iOS and Android later this year, and we now have the first photo of what it will look like. This picture is of the login screen on a Samsung Galaxy S3 — unfortunately we can’t show more due to identifying marks, though we are told that the software “isn’t bad” and should be released in the not-too-distant future. BlackBerry has publicly announced that BlackBerry Messenger for iOS and Android is set to be released sometime before the end of summer. BGR exclusively reported that BlackBerry was building BlackBerry Messenger for iOS and Android over two years ago. More →
Research in Motion (RIMM) updated its BlackBerry Messenger to version 7 on Monday, adding a new key feature called “BBM Voice” that “will allow customers to make free voice calls to their BBM contacts around the world over a Wi-Fi connection.” BBM 7 also introduces multitasking with split-screen, which allows users to BBM, check email, or use other apps while on a BBM Voice call; new compatibility with Bluetooth headsets and accessories, 16 new emoticons; direct BBM Update Notification that provides in-app alerts when new versions of an app are available and an easier way to synchronize BBM profiles; Groups; and Contacts with BBIDs for simpler backup and restores. BBM 7 is available as a free update for all BlackBerry smartphones running BlackBerry 6 OS or higher. Users on BlackBerry OS 5 will get BBM Voice “early next year.”
Former Research In Motion co-chief executive Jim Balsillie sought a radical shift in strategy before he stepped down, Reuters reported on Friday. Citing two unnamed sources, the publication claims Balsillie wanted to allow wireless companies in North America and Europe to use RIM’s proprietary network for services on non-BlackBerry devices. The plan would help carriers entice customers to upgrade from feature phones to smartphones and allow them to offer inexpensive data plans that were limited to social media and instant messaging via the company’s BlackBerry Messenger service. Despite RIM’s network bringing in nearly $1 billion each quarter, the plan was vetoed, leading to Balsillie’s resignation soon after he stepped down as co-CEO. The Blackberry-maker will instead focus more on its next-generation BlackBerry 10-powered smartphones, and on regaining enterprise momentum. More →
According to a recent job posting, Research In Motion may be looking to enter the iOS app market. The posting, which was spotted by AllThingsD, has since been removed, but a screen grab indicates that the company is seeking a Senior iOS Mobile Developer to build enterprise applications. More specifically, RIM needed “an experienced iOS/Objective-C developer capable of architecting, designing, developing and testing complex applications for iPhone and iPad devices.” Along with 7 to 10 years of programing experience, the job requires at least two years of professional experience in writing iOS apps, which candidates “must be able to show application from the App Store that they have written at interview.” It isn’t clear why RIM is looking for an iOS developer, however the company may be looking for help bringing its services to other platforms. BGR exclusively reported in May that RIM was planning to bring its popular BlackBerry Messenger app to Android and iOS.
UPDATE: Looks like the wait for BBM on iOS continues. A RIM spokesperson provided AllThingsD with the following comment: “In order for BlackBerry Mobile Fusion to perform advanced management functions for iOS devices, RIM will develop an on device client to be included as part of the overall solution.”
The Indonesian government has threatened to ban Research In Motion’s BlackBerry Messenger and BIS services in the country following the company’s decision to install a server in Singapore instead of in Indonesia. “Because RIM has not been cooperative, it is possible that we will soon end BIS (BlackBerry Internet Service) and BBM service,” a member of the Indonesian Telecommunication Regulatory Authority BRTI told The Jakarta Post. “BlackBerry therefore, would just be like other cellular phones.” RIM told the Indonesian government it would build a “server or data center” in the country as one of four promises it said would be completed by December 31st, The Jakarta Post explained. Read on for more. More →
BGR exclusively reported earlier today that Research In Motion was facing serious challenges getting native apps such as email, BlackBerry Messenger and more working on the BlackBerry PlayBook. In a post blog a few minutes ago, the company has confirmed that the PlayBook OS 2.0 update won’t be released until February. Additionally, RIM also relayed issues with BlackBerry Messenger integration, noting that BlackBerry Messenger will not be included in the native apps bundle of PlayBook OS 2.0, instead coming at a later date.
“We are committed to developing a seamless BBM solution that fully delivers on the powerful, push based messaging capabilities recognized today by BlackBerry users around the world and we’re still working on it.”
The company confirmed that BlackBerry Messenger can still be used by connecting an existing BlackBerry smartphone with data plan over Bluetooth to the BlackBerry PlayBook using BlackBerry Bridge. Read on for a link to RIM’s full announcement. More →
BGR exclusively reported in March that Research In Motion was working to bring its popular BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) platform to Android smartphones and the iPhone. Now, images that purportedly show a beta version of the chat application running on an Android device have been leaked by TechRadar. Reportedly, the app is set to launch on Android before next year and RIM is already in the final stages of testing the solution. The leak lines up with BGR’s original report that RIM would develop an Android client before an iOS version. In addition, BGR reported that RIM will likely limit the features of BBM on iOS and Android in an effort to woo users who want a more robust BBM experience back to a BlackBerry. RIM has plenty of stiff competition in the chat space, however. Applications such as Kik, Skype-owned GroupMe, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger all offer similar features and are available across multiple mobile platforms, and Apple’s iMessage service will launch this month with iOS 5. Hit the jump for a second image that provides a better look at the UI.
UPDATE: As pointed out by a tweet from Chris Parsons, it appears as though the image used in the screenshot below was pieced together from a marketing shot posted by RIM in August. More →
BlackBerry maker Research In Motion has agreed to work with London authorities as they begin their investigation into recent riots. According to some Londoners, rioters were using RIM’s BlackBerry Messenger service, along with social networks such as Twitter, to organize the attacks. “It is clear that technology is being used, including in demonstrations, to direct people and undermine the police,” London’s deputy assistant commissioner Stephen Kavanagh told Bloomberg. “It is not for us to to moan about this, but to adapt policing style and deal with it.” RIM typically prides itself on the security of its BBM service and has denied access to governments worried the chat platform could be used for planning terrorist attacks. “We feel for those impacted by the riots in London,” RIM wrote in a recent tweet. “We have engaged with the authorities to assist in any way we can.” Read on for more. More →