RIM to add more focus on BlackBerry Messenger, expanding its functions to video chat

BlackBerry Messenger
By Bla1ze on 10 Jul 2012 01:12 pm EDT
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During RIM's annual shareholder conference today, RIM CEO Thorsten Heins spent quite a bit of time highlighting items on RIM to-do list before BlackBerry 10 launches. One of the items he made mention of was the focus and expansion of BlackBerry Messenger on BlackBerry on BlackBerry smartphones.

For years now, BlackBerry Messenger has never really advanced much despite over 60% of the BlackBerry userbase making use of it but recently their has been new features brought to the platform. A noted by Heins, that will continue in BlackBerry 10 with the addition of video calling/chat and even further advancements of BBM Connected applications.

Although there was talk of possibly licensing Blackberry Messenger out to other vendors, RIM CEO Thorsten Heins has made it clear on more than one occasion now that BBM is something RIM wants to keep for itself. How leveraging BlackBerry Messenger will help RIM in the longrun remains to be seen but video chat integration is something that a lot of folks have been asking for for quite some time and now, RIM looks to be getting things prepared to finally deliver it.

Reader comments

RIM to add more focus on BlackBerry Messenger, expanding its functions to video chat

91 Comments

now we are talking!! When BBM Video launches, light version (BBM text) can be licensed to other platform - iOS/Android/WP8/Bada etc etc etc

That would be ok as long as BBM on other platforms could only message friends using a BlackBerry.

Without a mature ecosystem to draw people into BlackBerry, BBM needs to remain a hook to keep people on the platform. Until RIM gets back on it's feet and starts to make headway in Auto, Home Automation, travel, medical ect with BB1 10 w/NFC and the distributed nature of the QNX operating system to grow a consumer facing ecosystem to rival Microsoft, Apple and Google, the BBM is more important then ever as an exclusive feature to keep customer on the BlackBerry Platform.

"That would be ok as long as BBM on other platforms could only message friends using a BlackBerry."

+110

Excellent idea, you should send this to RIM through appropriate channels etc., though I would guess/hope they have already considered this idea or some variant of it.

Agreed. Now BBM video is on the horization, it will add more spin to BBM strategy (as a hook).

Just name few:

-Enhanced BBM (Video) vs. Plain (text)
-Platform restriction (receive only on other PF or only fully functional with BB devices)
-Geographic restriction (Given high growth in Asia Pacific/ LATAM/EMEA), limited BBM version only allow to use within the same carrier/ country,for example
-BBM light vs. BBM full (with ads/ without ads)

Those can be very interesting scenarios.

>-Geographic restriction (Given high growth in Asia Pacific/ LATAM/EMEA), limited BBM version only allow to use within the same carrier/ country,for example

NO NO NO NO NO NO NO people are using BBM also because it isn't constrained by country borders, don't make it sound like giving the cons of normal text messaging woudl be a step forward

>-BBM light vs. BBM full (with ads/ without ads)
why, simply why?

You shouldn't expect any smart phone company to reveal a lot of what's included in the phone six months before it's launched.

Amen to that. I'm eagerly anticipating the integration of cascades into BBM, and just about everything else BlackBerry phones offer.

Sounds Great. I saw Cnet retweet something about BBM and BB10 being licensed, officially, as fact, etc. Couldn't help but think it was bs, or they didn't listen properly. Is that the case? I didn't listen to the meeting.

Besides me, let's see how many mention Skype on this post... Since it is being integrated into the PB video chat, and it will be the same architecture as the BB10 phones, it will be interesting.

You keep saying that ... I sure hope you're right about this, and that it will include chat-to-skype, chat-to-phone-via-skype, and phone-to-chat-via-skype.

Right now I'm using Verizon-Skype on blackberry and the limitations are annoying (no skype-to-US-phone, verizon places skype on a low priority in its signal-stack so it drops alot, etc). We need full functionality.

So is there at least one other _serious_ CB addict who can vouch for QuIcKsIlV3r here? Two reliable witnesses (QuIcKsIlV3r + ?) will help me relax on this score ;-)

I'm with you on this one. It's not that I doubt what he's said, but so far, it's only been him saying this. I haven't seen any leaks/hints/discussion/tweets/comments from anyone else inside/outside RIM who has said this. And if it truly is "coming soon", you would think RIM would be making it loudly known to the world given that one of the major criticisms of the Playbook has been its lack of cross-communication capabilities.

I only speak from what I was told from my friend at RIM. Like some of the games that have come out, and suspensed until the day of release, I doubt there will be any announcements about Skype until its ready to come out

Actually in the AGM Thor confirmed they're not really going to say anything new about the platform and its capabilities until Q4, ahead of its launch in Q1.

We need a cross platform video chat. How will video chat in BBM be substantially better than the situation with PB. Maybe I will have a few more people I can reach, but most of the people I know don't have a bb, period it stinks if they are not going to get a solution to this.

BBM video chat would be fantastic! I'm down to four BBM contacts and they're people I don't even talk to often. They need to have some kind of PC to phone video chat software to give Skype a big middle finger.

well its the other way around... Apple has bItchslapped Bb users....imessage and facetime have been around, in the hands of customers, polished with quality hardware to support it for quite some time already....

Sorry but BBM has not evolved much in the past 2-3y. No video, no qnx compatibility, something PB got grilled for. No desktop counterpart.

sorry but you missed the boat.

definitely will be rad because if you have BBM, you have video chat where as right now obviously its only people with PlayBooks. Will be cool to video chat from my BB10 device to a friends BB10 PlayBook.

I had 5 times that 2 years ago and am down to maybe 50 or less. Video chat and BBM is a NO brainer! Nothing to get excited about. I would have been upset had it not be included. What about audio/voice chat?

Hey hispo, you sound like me I had so many BBM contacts and then it went down to a few. Before I left BB for samsung all I had left was my peeps from Dominican Republic. Hopefully in jan I can return for BB10.

I have 15. Of course I admin a BBM group that has 28 of the allowed 30 slots full. Christ Followers. Anyway, what I really want to see with this are two things:

1) individual choice (by preference or hardware) whether the chat is video or not.

2) BBM group chat accessible on the Playbook.

Its that all my friends over the years have switched. I'm not interested in strangers having my pin. When bbm does get all these great additions, I might have one bbm friend left. Video chat here I come. Kudos for making moves and making a better product, but its hard to get excited for this when bbm is irrelevant.

BBM with video calling? interesting.. I don't know how US carriers deals with video stream but in my country carriers doesn't include video stream on BIS. we have to use wifi to stream it or pay per kilobyte data transfer (which is expensive). so if BB10 has video call feature in the BBM, can it be used with BIS or only via wifi?

Awesome!

Business wise this camera pin chat would be a great idea, god knows I've needed in my job. This will help so man aspects including not having to travel as much for business and troubleshooting issues remotely.

Personal use this would also be a great addition to BBM, its tough for a person who works a lot to stay in contact with friends, this makes for a great interaction with friends and family.

Pretty excited...hope this goes through.

TeamBlackberry!

Video integration into BBM is an interesting idea, but it will surely be BB10 only. I assume that BB7 devices (with no front facing camera) won't be updated to integrate video into BBM. If BBM with video is a selling feature of BB10 phones, people will need to be aware that they will initially have a limited base of people to video chat with.

As far as BBM video is concerned, I can't imagine what it's going to do to the PIN share forums here considering the type of chat people in there are looking for.

HUGE mistake made when BB7 devices did not come with front facing camera (FFC). Without that, the video chat feature on PlayBook was limited to other PlayBook users only. If RIM hadn't slipped up with the FFCs on BB7, video chat on BlackBerry would have been a huge sell. Now, we're having BlackBerry users on their knees waiting for BB10 and Skype! Cruel mistake!! Folks have to be more insightful and look into the future for what will be needed and build it in. Personally, I would have taken a FFC versus NFC!

It wasn't just os6 or os7 blackberry smartphones, it was other smartphones around that didn't have front-facing cameras. There is a medium sized number of new ones which didn't have video calling abilities and most carriers don't support it. Rogers does, how many others do? Not many. Ffc's. Are for taking a photo or video of yourself.

I agree...maybe not all BBOS7 phones should have had FFC but definitly the high-range ones like the 9900's

The servers can't handle current bbm loads on occasion right now. They better upgrade the servers to handle the increase once millions of people start to use video chat.

However it "might" not be just a server issue, but something to do with "bandwidth" (the pipe capacity to & from the servers).

And the ONLY way around that is with more F-O cable, more switches, and even more servers in more data centres/ers around the world.

And THAT only if the bottlenecks don't occur within the carriers - between cell tower (wireless link) and their own server/s feeding the link to RIM's BB network.

TOO many potential points of failure between someone's mobile device and the requested data source that are beyond RIM's control or even influence (and explanation)... just 1 carrier's switch blows up and that could cascade through an whole network, making RIM the unjustified bad guys (again).

If you would explain why facetime can work, but so "TOO many potential points of failure" for BBM Video, I would certainly appreciate that.

umm Facetime only became fully mobile with iOS6...B4 that it was/is wifi only...probably because of some of the reasons the previous poster mentioned.

Good innovation for BBM. Now imagine using BBM vid chat directly through your car's console. That would be awesome. Hoping that is where all this will head one day.

~I am BlackBerry by choice~

Good God, really? Did you think this one through? Don't you think we have enough people already distracted behind the wheel?

It is a point where technology will head to, whether you like it or not.

It can ameliorate the texting-behind-the-wheel incidences that are far more distracting and accident-prone. With video chatting, you can keep both your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel. It will not be any more different than talking to a passenger sitting right beside you (or making hands-free calls that are already available in cars). Of course, if people allow it to become distracting, than a lot of things can be distracting - heck, talking to the passenger beside you is also a distraction.

People should take responsibility for their actions. The technology is there but how you use it is your responsibility - and so are the consequences of your actions.

~I am BlackBerry by choice~

It has always puzzled me as to why BBM is not integrated with video chat! It sounds very basic, like a no-brainer! Don't think I've heard d credible arguments as to why it is yet to b done! Griping about lack of skype on the platform is enough, but gosh this feature should hav been there a long while now!

I have a whopping TWO BBM contacts. And one (or both) may be jumping ship very soon. This will not benefit me.

Open up BBM to the other platforms - THEN I'll get excited.

The more integration on BBM the better. Video chat is always a high demand. If Thor really claim that BB10 is a new UI for 10 years. Then the video chat on BBM should be included..

When Apple released FaceTime, all I heard was how useless video chat was. Now, it witll define a platform. Very interesting.

Platform envy at it's best. Now that video chat might come to BB it's the best thing since sliced bread? Give me a break!

RIM is not playing catch up. Its actually heading on a different directions. And looks like RIM will be ahead, on a different type of game. IOS n Android, will look upon RIM and say.. " How come we didn't think of that!?"

Right. so there is nothing specific that RIM is suggesting right now that is ahead of anything. You just assume there will be some great revolution that will leave everyone in the dust. Got it. Now I know what to smoke.

RIM has shared very little about BB10 so we don't know what it will be capable of other than a very smooth UI.

I have 69 contacts as of now and haven't added some of my contacts intentionally. But most imp frnds and biz contacts are already there. So I wouldn't be thinking of skype at all. So excited for BB10
Let rock and roll this!

Well, seeing how they bought LiveProfile (which also has D/R status) and assigns each contact a PIN. They may just use that to augment their xplatform capabilities. I am sure they could make it coexist and users would be able to add each other from BBM or LP. BB keeps the BBM brand and wins converts by linking LP users with BBM ones. It theoretically could work...I suppose.

I quote: "expansion of BlackBerry Messenger on BlackBerry on BlackBerry smartphones. "
If there is "Blackberry on Blackberry smartphone", can I Blackberry my Blackberry while I Blackberry?
Blackberry-Inception!

That's nice and all but as some have noted other platforms already have this feature on their phones and tablets so what is new and innovative here? Nothing. If RIM wants to hit one out of the park, for me at least, try making this feature so it interacts will all platforms. That way I can use it to video chat with my wife (iOS) and daughter (Android). Plus give the ability to shrink the window so I can for instance, use the rest of my tablet to do something else and the ability to send them a picture, song, or link through the video chat. Or how about being able to talk to three or four people at the same time... now that would be new. How about being able to record those conversations too, you know people will use that capability why not have it? Oh and one more thing, I've said it before and I'll say it again while we wait another six months, I love my Playbook, I really do. Oh sure it may have had some issues when it first came out but all it took was a software update to make it what it is today. My wife got the iPad when they first came out and what are they up to now? The third one? All that tells me is the previous two were incomplete pieces of junk yet millions seemed okay with that but not us. I understand the next Playbook is already primed and ready to go out the door soon but I have a feeling it's just going to have minor changes like being 4G. Who cares about that? I have BB Bridge for goodness sake! Make that screen fill the shape of the device, why waste all that real estate?
So why not, if you are giving it 4G, why not give it the ability to make and receive calls? If the Playbook is sold by VZW for example, you could have the option of putting the Playbook on a plan and make calls directly from it or if you don't want to put it on a plan, then you will use the updated Bridge feature to make calls.

How about this: you can use video chat over 4G or LTE. With RIM's data compression technology it won't use that much data as other phones. That's a selling feature that RIM still needs to push out there.

I hope they set it up so it can fallback to audio only if there isn't bandwidth for video chat. Or even allow to choose audio only.