BlackBerry’s secret BBM weapon: pre-loading on competitors’ phones
Last month, BlackBerry broke the news that had been rumored for years prior: BlackBerry Messenger was going cross-platform. The company announced that apps for iOS and Android smartphones were on the way, and we’d likely be seeing them arrive this summer. While this was great to finally see happening, we had to wonder if it wasn’t a bit like BBM going through its death throes – cross platform messaging is already a big deal, with plenty of apps delivering what users want, so why would they switch to BBM? Now we’re starting to get a sense of BlackBerry’s plans, and those could mean a cunning strategic move for BBM.
According to BlackBerry COO Kristian Tear, the company has talked with the manufactures of other, competing smartphones about making BBM a pre-installed app for their users.
Sure, we tend to hate bloat in any form, but this is actually pretty interesting. While BBM has a dedicated user base, that gang’s already on the platform, and if BlackBerry has any hope of growing BBM, it’s going to have to convince users to take a chance with these new iOS and Android apps. Having them already on phones, right out of the box, could lower the barrier for entry enough to generate some actual use.
We still don’t know just who BlackBerry’s been talking to (though we assume this is Android-only, as Apple would be a tough nut to crack), nor the progress of any specific deals, but this news gives us hope that BBM might still have some surprises left for us.