BlackBerry's Chris Smith gives us deep dive with BBM and SMS for PC

Chris Smith
By Simon Sage on 2 Oct 2013 03:25 pm EDT

BlackBerry's Chris Smith gave gave us a closer look at Jam Asia's BBM on PC tech demo, except this time they had it up and running for SMS, and he indicated they could have done it with any number of their apps. Unfortunately, they wouldn't let us shoot video, but check out the keynote video below in action. Basically it projects the mobile app onto Windows securely through Link's secure authentication system, either over USB or Wi-Fi.

The interface is optimized for the desktop experience insofar as it recognizes mouse and keyboard input, provides pop-up notifications for new messages, and resizes elegantly. You can even attach files from your PC as you would on your device. In this sense, the capabilities are beyond mere mirroring that you would get through HDMI-out or Miracast, but still emphasizes a handset-first attitude that characterizes Bridge. "If you look at what some of our competitors are doing, they have massive installs and deployments for synchronizing content and data across all these end-points. It's really not the direction we're taking," Smith said.

Smith was quick to reiterate that the demo wasn't a product launch, but they're "looking for ways to leverage it for ourselves" in addition to providing this technology for third parties, so long as devs can find their own data tunnel to the PC similar to what Link is providing BBM and SMS. Smith also reminded us that this demo was very much along the same vein as the in-car BBM video stuff we saw at BlackBerry Live, and from those demos we can extrapolate a number of different directions developers could take BlackBerry.

It was great to get a closer look at BBM (and SMS for that matter) on a PC. I just hope that if BlackBerry was willing to take it as far as they did for a tech demo, they'd be willing to go that extra step to a full public roll-out. If going cross-platform is the strategy for BBM, it has to be more than iOS and Android - Mac and PC clients, in some form or another, are a must.

Reader comments

BlackBerry's Chris Smith gives us deep dive with BBM and SMS for PC


Just more 'coming soon' that will come 'late' if at all....

RIM reminds me of some useless people on a project: can't execute or finish anything? Just start something else!

Posted via CB10

Sadly, I'm expecting a PlayBook-like outcome:

"That was a very tough decision to make. I could have done it, but you would have loads of comments on your site - 'How can Thorsten allow such a crappy product to be launched?' ... It was one of the toughest decisions I had to make because I knew I would break a commitment, but I also made a commitment to quality before that. ... I can't take iPhones and Androids back and provide them with BlackBerry hardware. I can't exchange the devices - there's no way to do this... I stand by the decision, as tough as it is. I apologize to the users that I couldn't get it done. What I did I did because I want them to have a quality experience with BBM."

Gee do you think? These guys keep announcing things but not delivering anything of substance.

Posted via CB10 from the BlackBerry Z10

I wish folks would not always second guess everything the company does. Not saying or defending everything they do, but this is very insightful - a peek behind the scenes of where they're going and what might be coming down the pipe. Many of the technologies we use today were developed years before, and many lived an existence in a lab until it was allowed to bear fruit in a commercial product.
There is R&D and then there is development and deployments. This is R&D - BlackBerry's bread and butter - what they need to do more of to remain competitive. It's where so many great ideas originate. The roll out of cross platform BBM is a different team and a different project altogether.

Halfway where? The correct way to go about this is to launch a Skype competitor. Secure, fast, powerful BBM for global communications. This will never see the light of day. It should never have been built as an extension of the phone. These guys still don't get it, Bridge was as big a flop as a "feature" as this would be. Nobody wants to pair two devices. Just provide standalone clients that all sync from one central server.

Agreed...i think this capability is fantastic to have as an addition, but Blackberrys mobile first view becomes useless if no one is buying Blackberrys anymore.

Posted via CB10

Couldn't disagree much more. Bridge was huge, and its demise was a huge mistake. Taking advantage of the strengths of different devices that are effectively teamed up as a whole, single, distributed solution is exactly what I crave.

I use the bridge on my playbook all the time. It actually works great for what it was designed for, and extension of your blackberry. I use the bluetooth keyboard with it, and it makes a very powerful, and connected device. Because it connects to the blackberry, it has all the communication security of the BB, and I can get to corporate email with no additional security. The playbook was just marketed incorrectly, it was not an ipad. This PC-Bridge should not be marketed as "BBM on your desk top" as that would assume you don't need a BB (or iPhone/Android). If they do not position it correctly, failed expectations will kill it... but we are ahead of ourselves, it is not a product yet.

Aww man. Too bad it's just a demo. If they could release this asap it'd go a long way to helping the brand.

Posted via CB10 on my Z10 Oreo

BBM and SMS bridged on the PlayBook I thought was really good for the time. To have that capability for PC's would be outstanding!

So awesome! Although BlackBerry I do not understand why they release all these amazing demos and ideas, then say it is something other developers can utilize in their own apps...but BlackBerry won't even implement it to pave the way for developers.

Developers would be more inclined to do it if BlackBerry did it for their apps and showed how much interest users have in using this feature...BlackBerry has to start implementing these features rather than show it and then just hope developers use them!

Posted via CB10

So they don't want to go the full mile and release it as a product, could they not at the very least release the source code for some other develop to take off where they left the demo...

Because if they gave away the source code there would actually be a chance the product would actually be released in the next 2 years.

Posted via CB10 on my BlackBerry Z10


I don't blame them for working on stuff, but why keep showing stuff off early t just sets up disappointment and adds pressure on teams that maybe they don't need.

Did Apple or the Surface team say whoo hoo hey over here look at us look what we are working on? No it was just boom, done.


The truth has spoken. This annoy me more than the crappy marketing job. This is the reason behind all the negative comments.

Posted via CB10

Actually they did. The predecessor of the surface was called the courier and it had a big hype no release a la BlackBerry. Too bad it looked promising.

Posted via CB10

Some folks like to generate feedback from users by showing stuff. Often that is a mistake as it reveals to the world what the company is working on.
Apple is great about taking technologies and selling them to people.
Lots of great ideas coming out of Waterloo but they need to find ways to see value in these ideas and work them into a product. Bridging devices together is not a new idea. Using a centralized approach is also not new. BlackBerry seems to want to make the device the central component, with other devices syncing with it. There are advantages with that, but there are also some shortcomings. Folks in the enterprise won't want to use Google's or Apple's cloud-based services, but creating an enterprise cloud solution presents all sorts of network connectivity issues for a mobile user. These issues are fundamental and help create the framework for the mobile strategy. It doesn't mean BlackBerrys won't be cloud-friendly (with Google Drive, Dropbox,, SkyDrive, etc), but having centralized management of the devices content might not actually be the best solution for them.

:facepalm: what have we been saying for months and months...

Bring Back Bridge!

Now they're starting to demonstrate proof-of-concept Bridge-like functionality...

I expect they can build Bridge "clients" for just about any platform for which a Webkit-based renderer exists.

They should really REALLY listen to us.

Posted via CB10

I think the important element here is that this bridge functionality is what QNX is using for the automotive field. It seems that the push there is to have cars use a user's smartphone for advanced features. A bridge feature like this would be the way to implement it, and you could overlay that with a UI customized for the car with restrictions to prevent things that are unsafe when moving, etc. It would be awesome if this was an API that could be licensed to Apple and Android so BB would again start a standard but actually get paid for it.

TELSTRA have had text messaging desktop app for years, that still works when your battery is dead as it is independent of device. Nothing new, except apart from BB uninformed shareholders.

And Google has had Google talk available for desktop and mobile... what's your point? This is different as the desktop doesn't 'maintain' account info and whatever data (calendar, contacts, etc). Why replicate the effort, connections to the server, storage, etc. when you can access and run it all from your mobile device.

Of course the result may be the same, but there are many ways to achieve it.

Posted via CB10

Thank you for paying attention. The advantages seem readily clear. One device driving everything without the completely unnecessary duplication. Faster, quicker and smarter.

I will actually prefer it to be bridged to my mobile. Then I won't have to worry about logging out etc.

Posted via CB10

What's BlackBerry wait for? Would BlackBerry only wake up only when Samsung or Apple implement this feature first? I hate sounding sour.
When would BlackBerry truly learn that the competition in mobile business is really fierce?
BlackBerry got so many exciting and wonderful stuff they can throw at consumers but they just brag and do nothing about it. God please help this inept company.

Posted via CB10

Exactly!! How can they not see that innovation is their only way out.. this company never seizes to amaze me with their lack of insight on todays market..

Posted via CB10

WOW BBRY! Just as usual; Great concepts and proof that it has been coded and it works and its also a HUGE differentiator compared to other similar softwares! But again, management keeps on holding great ideas and cash cow ideas that could elevate the company! They hold it for what reason?? We still dont know til this day!

Next time you have a great idea or concept BBRY and you dont want to market it, DONT F***ing SHOW IT!
Dumb management with great ideas and concept = Dumb A$$ company

Get this sh*t out! And do it for Windows, Mac, Windows RT! If you have no tablet plans - make Bridge Apps for other Plattforms! Android tabs and iPads should get this feature too!

Give iOs, Android the same feature for BBM, but BlackBerry 10 should feature the whole Hub!

Just do it! Don't talk about it! Do it!

Posted via CB10

This could be one of the hooks they use to get you to buy a BB10 handset. Love BBM and want it on your desktop? Buy a BB10 handset and get enhanced capabilities!

How about getting BBM for Android and iOS out before talking about anything else guys!!

Posted via CB10

Yes this is very good stuff! But there has to be a disconnect at BlackBerry if they don't see the potential for this with BBM On smartphones and the desktop!! Why would they not want to head this way? It seems as if BlackBerry is stuck in some ivory tower, research mode that it came from and is still bemused that it actually made money while developing it's handsets. There needs to be more fire in the belly or something!! They either announce launches too soon and then can't deliver or are unable to deliver on time. It is very unclear to me why they would, to a last employee, state it is concept only. BlackBerry may not be around to ever see this realized so either why bother or have the intent to include it in Link and go for it!!! BBM cross platform is becoming a distant memory... why is it not ready?? do a limited roll out in good BBM Markets. It seems very wierd that they are already to launch and suddenly are blindsided by something that is taking weeks to fix. It all just snacks of a bunch of scientists in a lab doing research with little to no focus on the real world and products that are innovative! Enough if a rant but why in gods ne can't BlackBerry get this stuff out to the market? With all the events and talk there seems to be precious talk about corporate culture and lack of intensity in getting things done efficiently!!! It is frustrating and confusing!!

Posted via CB10

They never said they weren't going to roll it out. They are stressing that this wasn't a launch so people don't get all pissy when they don't see it in the near future. Maybe they do plan on launching it and will actually announce it when it's actually ready? Instead of announcing and missing dates...

" "If you look at what some of our competitors are doing, they have massive installs and deployments for synchronizing content and data across all these end-points. It's really not the direction we're taking," Smith said."

Translations = holy f**k, a competitive network would cost billions and take years! how can we cheap this out?

"Smith was quick to reiterate that the demo wasn't a product launch, but they're "looking for ways to leverage it for ourselves"


""I had a session with Chris Smith, the Vice President of Application Platform at BlackBerry, and asked him about availability for BBM from the desktop like we saw in the morning keynote. In exact words “no plans” to which I said “so was it just a proof of concept?” and his words “not even a proof of concept”. Ultimately Chris wanted to make it clear that what we say today was just a demo of how capable the USB Host feature can be and for developers to take that and run with it."

So which is it? No plans or looking to leverage?

I listened to Kevin during his vector chat with Rene how BlackBerry demo'd a PlayBook that wasn't anything but an LED with a looped video. How the Storm rpesentation was a series of photoshops. And the few other examples he had and now everything I see BlackBerry seems just like that . Oh we'll get there, eventually....

Knowing BlackBerry's competence level, how they developed Link for Mac and 4000+ job cuts, you can easily guess what will happen to us Mac users, when this actually gets released (in ~4 years)

Great potential, Blackberry needs to get this out asap, and hopefully allow other developers to piggy back on the Link software to connect to the PC. I would see the Link would have something like a hub that you could turn off and on app connections to your computer, IE twitter (on), bbm (on), snap chat (off), etc.. or if you wanted to play multi player games from you phone on the computer.

As a Playbook and Z10 owner I am sad to say that I feel that they should have first tested this via Beta Zone with us, the loyal customers. The beta channels is a prime example of the power of collaboration on a concept and expanding that idea to be consumer ready. I want this on my laptop and Playbook. I am willing to help test!

Posted via CB10

Of course concepts like this will see the light of day, it will just be on every other platform. Years ago a company called IBM had an idea. Management wasn't sure if it would work, so they set up a demo. Had some guy named Steve Jobs take a look at a desktop computer they made. Then they shelved the idea. After all it would be such a small market why bother. Had some guy named bill Gates write some software for it too, let him keep the rights for it . why bother it's only a demo.

Posted via Z10

Wondering if in extreme side, if bb10 OS can be mirrored into the pc. That would show how powerful the concept is.

It would be inserting to see could the Hub mirrored.

Posted via CB10

extreme? BB7 does it with the 5 dollar SOTI app, its been able to do it for years. Android and IOS have also been doing it for very long. Sad to come on crackberry and see that RIM is "demoing" a feature phones had from years ago and pretending its bleeding edge.

See how easy it is for them to project the interface onto another device!! It's like Splashtop.
That is why I don't understand why they didn't do that with the Playbook. If the Playbook couldn't run BB10 then just let it control a BB10 device. A simple fix that would have kept the Playbook in the game and kept everyone happy.
If I can control my PC with my Playbook, then I can control my Z10 with my Playbook!!
Sad thing is, we will probably see an Android tablet doing that before we would ever see a Playbook doing it

Posted via CB10

The fact that Blackberry development continues to push boundries and think out side the box, is promising. Whether this comes to pass or not, remains to be seen.

That being said. I could easily see myself using this a LOT.

Probably no chance of happening at this scale, but imagine if the main communication (instant messaging and emails) tunnel would be using this technology to replace Outlook, with emails, tasks, contacts on your phone using a software suite on your dumb PC. Always on yourself, no need to sync anything.

It would be a nice hybrid between now and the time when computers will just be terminals and everything is in the cloud, or when mobile softwares will be advanced enough to dump PC and only use mobile phone with monitor+keyboard+mouse.

Truly a mobile computing view of things... now is it just vapor?

Posted via CB10

Over USB, am looking at portable apps. BBM and SMS bridged on the PlayBook that is what am looking for.

I would like CrackBerry to stop trying to give us hope. This is useless and only make me hate BlackBerry more. Every time I see something I like, I hate BlackBerry. I don't want to. So stop showing us anythings. Leave us to process and go through break up.

Posted via CB10

Now this is an awesome post. Finally some more clarity on "the Internet of things" and how devices connect in new ways. BlackBerry is bleeding edge by exploring these avenues of innovation.

Posted via CB10

These guys never learn... talk about something when it's ready or imminent... total bullshit... that's right BlackBerry... we still love your product... but we're now tired of your bullshit ineptitude...

Posted via CB10

I just do not get what is that impressive in that demo? You have to plug your cell phone to your computer via USB so you can use BBM on the computer? I thought the whole mobile computing thing was to remove the need for the computer to begin with? It is not even wireless, like easySMS on Android since some time ago where you could have your phone in your suitcase but start receiving SMSs on your desktop once the phone is in range...

Wow a bunch of whiney moaners, so what if it's delayed somethings in life don't always go to plan. Sit tight and all will be delivered then you can moan when it had a glitch because they rushed it to shut you up.

Posted via CB10

Awesome! I can't wait til they announce the release date for 2016 and then never release it.

I think for the first time I'm considering leaving blackberry. It's been a hard twelve years but I think it's time to move on. BlackBerry doesn't want to produce anything better then the competition because their biggest pride and joy is to say I don't give a fuck about the people who buy our crape phones. People who buy blackberry love the fact the blackberry is going to deliver something new even though their not. Where the fools for supporting them.

Posted via CB10

Looks good and apologies for the long post!

I expect this concept is written as proof-of-concept code or as many a developer would say - hacked together.
What separates proof-of-concept code from production code is an appropriate level of design - it seems that BlackBerry hasn't even reached a stage where they have all the production requirements necessary to start the project proper so I'm not surprised that it isn't coming soon!

Let's face it - I would use such a feature to allow my app to bridge to PC/Mac but why should I have to make my own data tunnel - that should be an OS/Link service exposed in the 10.x SDK. Again if your app has a bridge component it would need to be listed in BlackBerry World but how? More changes for that too. Is the bridge app a premium service (free app, paid bridge)

There are many ways to take this feature and I am glad BBRY is giving us a first look - we don't need every feature on day 1 but we do need something and quickly!

Z10 + + DTAC = BBtastic!

I enjoy technology previews.

That being said, I want TAT. I want them to push the envelope of what BB10 can do in a released product. That's the only way to push other developers. Showing concepts is one thing. Delivering something phenomenal is better.

Posted via CB10

I am excited to see where this is going. But come on guys, get on the ball and get BBM out to iPhone and Android already

Posted via CB10

Another science fiction...

If BlackBerry enters Hollywood's business they probably successful...

Posted via Z10

Why wouldn't they want to release something like this themselves? SMS and BBM on the PC would, IMO, be a big selling feature.

Had to login just to comment how useless this is. No one wants to pair there phone to the PC to message, what a completely clueless demo. I've been doing this on BB7 with SOTI for years, and its not a feature worth bragging about.
If BBM is going to be big, they need a full PC client, not one that requires a phone that nobody wants. Facebook can make a mobile and desktop client work in tandem, and so can any 3rd year comp sci student , this isn't a demo it's just sad.

It's more than BBM. It's your computer running your phone as if you have your phone super sized....its like the bridge on your playbook. it is totally awesome. You just don't understand.

BlackBerry will survive in the Corporate and Government Sectors! My Z10 is so much better than an iphone!

They need to stop wasting resources on things they aren't going to release. It does nothing to affect what the general public thinks of BlackBerry.

Posted via CB10

Why the f**k do BlackBerry keep doing this. Admittedly I don't follow Apple or android as I do Android but I don't see either of the companies giving demos of ideas they never launch or at least hand to develops.

Remember the great TAT demo of sharing device screens by flicking them.....

All these QNX concept cars Porsche, Bentley, Mercedes.... and so far nothing.

BlackBerry R&D division need to understand the the D is Development and implementing things. Instead I have Apple wowing the world with an display idea taken from and old concept develop for kids pictures.

BlackBerry stop preaching to the choir and go and wow the f**king world.

Posted via CB10

BlackBerry should stop showing and giving away their secrets, and simply deliver when the product is ready.

Posted via CB10 on my Z10

The concept is cool. But...why are they letting their competition have this sneak-peak of their unfinished products? Shouldn't this be top secret until right before public launch?

Apple would never do this. Apple has you buying their laptop, ipad, ipod, etc in order to accomplish this and you have to sync your devices. Let alone having to buy everything through iTunes. Here all your info is just on your phone and you project to the computer screen, car infotainment center etc. When you leave the room, all your information leaves with you. It is completely awesome. Go BlackBerry

BlackBerry will survive in the Corporate and Government Sectors! My Z10 is so much better than an iphone!

Guess you can't blame them since that is a Dev Conference.

They should REALLY consider launching this in Link, and soon!

Posted via CB10

I have to ask is any other mobile device have that? That is like the bridge on the PlayBook. Ie I can now see why you don't need a tablet. Any computer becomes a seamless slave to your phone. To me that is completely awesome! Can't wait.

BlackBerry will survive in the Corporate and Government Sectors! My Z10 is so much better than an iphone!

This type of desktop experience is exactly what I need. BlackBerry or developers please make this a reality. This type of innovation is needed more than a spec war about who has more processors or pixels. I would gladly pay for a program like this that would increase my productivity greatly.

Posted via CB10

I agree with the article, it has to be more than BBM for ios and android. I want and am looking for the bridge experience back as well as upgraded to include a pc. It doesn't necessarily need to be synced everywhere which isn't bad but as long as I have my phone, I can pull the information up and manipulate it where I need to and have full functionality as stated (as far as) uploading/downloading/sharing files from the current device not just the phone.

Posted via CB10