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The Messenger To Rule Them All
Word out of Waterloo has been dire for the last few months; BlackBerry pulled back on the BB10 upgrade for the PlayBook, announced that it would be pulling back from the consumer space and doubling down on enterprise, and missed the ship date for BBM for Android and iOS due to a glitch caused by Android users side-loading and out-of-date beta. At this point any news needs to be good news. The news IS in and it’s not good–it’s GREAT. Finally BlackBerry is catching a break with the real-world launch of BBM for Android and iOS.
It seems odd that carving off a key component of the BlackBerry ecosystem and distributing to the platforms that are largely responsible for their sales and financial woes could be considered a win, but this is a huge step for the brand. Despite the strong design, great build quality, and robust operating system behind the new Z and Q series phones, BlackBerry as a brand has been taking body blows that can’t be ignored. Articles have been written tolling a death knell for the brand; vitriolic comments about the team from Waterloo were the norm–until they turned to apathy. “What’s BlackBerry?” has been asked un-ironically over the past few months; the situation has been dire.
With the #BBM4ALL campaign finally launching BlackBerry, much has been forgiven. Users have been downloading the app at a reckless pace, putting it in the top ten free downloads for both Android and iOS. I’m seeing BBM pins showing up on social for most of my contacts, and I’ve even seen the true test of popularity: the fashionistas on my social feeds are trumpeting loudly about how you can’t reach them on BBM. Surely something has reach critical mass when the social bourgeois no longer wants anything to do with it.
But it’s more than just hype: BBM is the best multi-platform messenger on the market, bar none. If you run small business, it’s the messenger you should be using.
Why? It’s faster and more reliable than the competition, it’s more flexible, and it’s a hell of a lot prettier to boot.
Faster? You’d better believe it. If you’re using Kik, Whatsapp, WeChat, or any of the other knock-offs, you’ll be surprised at how fast BBM actually is. It feels just as fast as it did on native BlackBerry platforms. Group chats are fluid, file transfers are quick, and you can Ping your contacts to get their attention.
Flexible? Yup. The BBM pin system is more flexible than attaching a messenger to your phone number. Whatsapp becomes a clusterfail every time you cross the border and have to switch SIM cards; BBM keeps on truckin’. It’s a vastly superior experience.
Prettier? You might not think it matters, but in a mostly visual medium like touch screen smartphones it’s the app with the most usable interface that wins. In this case pretty and usable are equitable; BBM is clean and easy to navigate, using side-screen swipes and platform specific widgets to make each app feel at home on both Android and iOS.
If you’re a small business owner BBM needs to be on your radar. It’s the app that’s going to give you cross-platform communication with confirmed read-receipts, group chat, and file sharing. It makes Bring Your Own Device even more practical by putting a more powerful communications tool in your hands and the hands of your team. The jankiness of Whatsapp and Kik put them out of the running as professional alternatives, leaving the crown to BBM.
BBM is free on iOS and Android, which leads to my final question for the day: how on earth are they monetizing this?
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