What’s next now that BBM has launched on iPhone and Android?

By Chris Umiastowski on 21 Oct 2013 07:56 pm EDT

So the big day has finally come.  I was just about to take to Twitter to complain about the silence from the @BBM channel, despite Frank Boulben telling Reuters the launch was coming in a matter of days.  And then, as luck should have it, I saw the Inside BlackBerry blog post about today’s launch. 

I already have BBM up and running on my Galaxy S4 and I’m pleased to say it’s actually working well for me.  I’m not experiencing prior known bugs.  My only temporary issue was that in tests from my Samsung to CrackBerry Adam’s Nexus, a high percentage of sent messages were never delivered.  As soon as I rebooted, the problem disappeared.  It now works perfectly.

I was also happy to see that the app asked me to invite my Facebook friends to download it.  This go-viral feature seems to have worked quite well for me.

Also in the marketing department, after seeing the BBM Twitter account seemingly die (total silence for a long time), I was happy that BlackBerry did actually send out emails to people who pre-registered their email address.  My email came in just before 5pm.  I was worried they’d do a big fat nothing with the email list since I didn’t even get a confirmation that they received my request when I signed up for the list in the first place.

So where to from here?  BlackBerry has a huge gap to fill between its user base and that of leading competitor, WhatsApp.  60 million users vs. over 200 million.  That’s a tall order.  The best chance the company has, in my opinion, is to be absolutely relentless about marketing the app from here on out.

I think it’s obvious they are going to see several million downloads in a matter of a day or two.  They need to press release this information and keep it on the radar.  They also need to keep sending emails to those who pre-registered to remind them to download the app, and only remove them from the mailing list if they actually register a new BBID or move an existing BBID to a new device.  Or, of course, if they opt out of the email list.  But at this point it is go big or go home.  They absolutely need to keep hammering us with positive news about the take-up of BBM. 

Next, they need to start the buzz going about new feature releases.  When can we expect video and voice support for iOS and Android?  What about BBM Channels?

Speaking of BBM Channels, if they are going to monetize the app via the Channels feature, they need to build in-app advertising expertise.  This is just my opinion, but I don’t think the company has any talent whatsoever in the in-app advertising arena right now.  They have never excelled in this department, and developers have long been complaining about crappy fill rates on ads.  Bottom line - if BlackBerry Messenger is to ever be taken seriously as platform on which to advertise, the team needs to hire experienced talent pronto.

Regardless, the company’s first priority, with respect to BBM, should be to make sure the launch is smooth, and that the service works.  Then they need to race to get to 100 million users so they can brag about the extra digit in their user base.  Behind the scenes they need to bring on the new features and build up monetization capability for BBM Channels.

Now it’s your turn.  What do you think BlackBerry can do to dramatically boost their installed base as fast as possible?  What are your ideas?

BBM now available for iPhones
BBM now availble for Android Phones

Topics: BBM Editorial

Reader comments

What’s next now that BBM has launched on iPhone and Android?



Blackberry should make bb10 open sourced. Lololololol. This way they can control what is needed to be built on hardware such as what windows did to nokia

Oh yeah really. Reread the first paragraph and just.... dream......:

. Frank was fired
. The developers who could allow a 'leaked' version of BBM to bring down a worldwide launch of iOS and Android apps were fired
. The above developers bosses were fired
. The CSuite who drove the company into the ground and then expected a flawed BBM launch that further undermined the companys credibility to somehow save the company were fired
. The Board - having overseen one of the greatest destruction of wealth on Canada were jailed. Ok. Maybe that would be too optimistic. But kicked off the Board for sure

I could do this all say. You're right. Why wait. Fire these guys and girls now.

Posted via CB10

An I the only one that thinks it's funny that the 2 devises they use are NOT EVEN BlackBerrys. Nexus and a G4 come on at least lie and say it's a friends phone.

Zed 10 - In your face VZW

Exactly! BlackBerry already has BBM...what would that prove? Guess this dude missed the whole show! I wonder what he has been smoking?

Posted via CB10


What do you hear about BBM being a profit center for the Blackberry company?

Unfortunately present stockholders, as myself, will not benefit. But, the company needs income to survive. Smart Phone sales seem to be a falling market.

On the other hand, as a (multiple) Blackberry phone owner, I pay monthly for BB service.
What about those on BYOD who do not pay BB for BBM? They should pay something to support the service. 'free' should not be (totally) 'FREE'.

BBRY should have had a commercial to go with BBM launch demonstrating BB10 products and BBM cross platform compatibility. They are missing out on publicity...not striking while the iron is hot. So much attention focused on this app and no marketing to go with it....

Posted via CB10

Neither is it compelling to purchase a Windows phone. But Microsoft and Nokia do a good job of marketing the product to consumers. Does McDonald's make the best burger in the world? Yet somehow they manage to do well year after year. Often times it's not the best product that wins but the best that's marketed.

Posted via CB10

That about sums up North America's view on the cell war.

Very well put, my friend. Very well put.

Posted via CB10

That's the exact reason why if consumers could choose between the HTC One (nicer design) or the LG G2 (faster performance) vs the Samsung Galaxy S4 or the Apple iPhone 5 series, the latter win about 8 times out of 10.

It's all about mind share.

I know I find myself in that situation; BBM was one of the reasons I decided to stay with Blackberry when I switched to my Z10. And considering everything that I, as a prosumer (rolling my eyes), needs in terms of applications can be done on an alternate platform, it's hard to justify staying with Blackberry. At least when we only had BBM, there was a reason to stay. Now, I'm not sure what compelling reason there is.

Now that you have spent some time with the Z10, just spend 15-20 minutes with another brand's phone. A lot of things will start annoying you pretty fast. That speaks volumes about what BB10 is doing great.

I actually bought my first ever smartphone this year, and that was the Z10. I bought it knowing that I'd maybe have 3-4 contacts at most (most of my friends ditched BBM for Whatsapp a while back) but because I was truly surprised to see what BB10 had to offer.

Posted from my Z10 running

How about a secure platform, great messaging platform, and the ability to play flash content. There are many outside of the obvious. I tired using an iPhone again the other day and I felt I went back I time. The notification center a joke, n all the back and forth with the home button, poor text selector and finally my favorite illegal movie sights do no work. For all the apps it has, I could only find 3 I really wanted. I guess hype already won

Z10 posted

Thank you Raj... the iPhone is a step back in time. What is all the hype over the stupid iPhone?

BB10 IS the best!

I don't get it either. I cannot believe that iPhone users actually believe it is a superior product. They must have never used another smartphone to know the difference.

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" there's now no compelling reason to get BlackBerry hardware"

I take it you haven't used the Z30.

Not much on the planet to compare with it. Samsungs best perhaps, but that's not as good a phone.

Wish I could get the Z30. Unfortunately I blew my load on the Z10 at launch when it was touted to be a "premium" phone. I wish I had waited. Of course if they are doing some sort of promo like they did in Malaysia (buy a Z30 and get a Z10 free) I would immediately get one butcher otherwise nope. I do already have a Z10 so if such an offer were to exist, I would gift the Z10 to someone I know to get them onto the platform. Maybe there should be such an offer for existing Z10 owners especially those who bought the phone at a premium. For the time being the Z10 serves my purposes but I still wish I could get onto the Z30 bandwagon :)

Posted via CB10 from BB Z10 (My stable: 8310, 8520, 9900, Z10)

It's just but not butcher damn this predictive text and my thick fingers.

Posted via CB10 from BB Z10 (My stable: 8310, 8520, 9900, Z10)

I hope BlackBerry doesn't follow in Android OEMs' footsteps with "premium" necessarily equating to a large display. I like the size of the Z10 and hope the iPhone won't be the only premium phone with a sub-5" display.

Posted via CB10

I just read a twitter from BlackBerry saying that they will release a native app for WP, potentially Win8 and also a Web app.

This looks like a nice future for BBM... if BlackBerry can sustain it !

Looks like a very good move anyway.

Posted via CB10

Which account tweeted that, if you remember? The official one?
Can make a couple of international friends very happy :P

Posted via CB10

I agree with you, they need to keep momentum going. Release updates soon including voice, video and channels. If they don't keep people interested and using the service it could die down fast. Keep it going!!!

They need to make those apps better. Updates every week. Get it to parity with BB10 in every way while at the same time fixing any half assed shortcomings for the individual platforms. And get a windows phone app out there too, which can be a link to windows 8 desktop.

Whatsapp has no adds but chargers a yearly fee. They need to be careful here in the monetization of the app.

Posted via CB10

BBM has to become available on the PC and all features become available. Video on the PC to mobile user is a must. BBM is on its way.

Posted via CB10

I may be one of few but I'm not interested to have any advertising in BBM. That would actually tick me off, especially on Bbm on a BlackBerry device... why do they have to monetize with ads... maybe for features but not for channels I hope. I know they want more revenue but there must be other ways

I agree. I don't believe I should have to deal with ad's since I have a BlackBerry device. Hopefully ad's will only appear on non-BB devices using BBM.

Subscribe to Tri County Catering and Party Idea Channel. Pin #C00123065

Yeah. I spent good money getting a bbry device no reason why I should have ads on my BBM. That should apply to those who load BBM onto their non-BB devices.

Posted via CB10 from BB Z10 (My stable: 8310, 8520, 9900, Z10)

yea they cant advertise like what people see as adverts, however using channels they can go the twitter route of promoted channels and such as a means to generate revenue.

Saying that is far easier than doing it though, as people forget that this long long wait for cross platform BBM is actually less than the wait for channels to come out of beta even just for BlackBerry devices (they were announced the same day), so if the ability to monetize BBM hinges on channels, then i wouldnt expect any revenue for a fair while tbh.

Now we got connected let's show them the good features of BB10. Hopefully they know what they're missing.

They should give BBM to the playbook users. Kind of dumb they give it to someone else's platform, and their tablet doesn't get it. Typical.

Posted via CB10

lol, I'm a PlayBook owner too dude. You just gotta let it go. It was an experimental device, they pulled the plug. Move on!


They really need a sustaining plan. I hope BlackBerry takes advantage of this though. Like how can they use this to promote bb10 devices or something

Posted via CB10

Adds for BBM everywhere on the net is the key. I think after the 1st year is up for BBM being cross platform they should charge 99¢ just as WhatsApp does. It works for them and after a year, the traction should be there in force! The charge will help ease the loss of carrier fees as the former BBOS fades into history.

I'm hoping a soon to come headline saying "bbm is the fastest downloaded app of all time" then insert a number say 30 million in 3 days or something to that effect.


They should advertise through Channels but First get BBM working flawlessly on Android and iPhone and make an app for Windows add more features to Channels like the ability to make and add your own videos fix some bugs. Work on the desktop version and last but not least advertise the heck out of it

Posted via CB10 with my Z10

First - great news BBM is finally rolling out to ios & android! Don't underestimate it's importance!

Second - once it has been out a 'significant ' amount of time, start to email features people may not be aware of (not everyone has experienced BBM before). Email is also a great way to subtly showcase BB10! If you think everyone is married to their phone brand, you're wrong. BlackBerry has an enormous amount of people that have left they can get back on the next upgrade cycle. The OS will have had time to mature & they won't be facing that mass return of devices they did at launch. Also, make these emails attractive with video & music to peek people's interest. People won't flock to BB10 in droves but they don't need to chase the #1 spot, just get people back & survive, grow the user base.

Third - start a campaign with AC/DC's back in black! BBM is back for everyone & so is BlackBerry with BB10.2. Consider it a relaunch of the flawed 1st attempt. This time around the OS won't be riddled with glitches & boast new features of 10.2.

Do it all before the holidays are upon us. Get a team dedicated to get this done RIGHT! Drop that CMO like a bad stank & get someone on board who does NOT currently work at BlackBerry because even if the right person is currently working there, the ties they'd have to current inept management would not be good.

This is an enormous opportunity for them! They can't afford to F*CK it up! ENGINEERING should be left in the engineering department.

Also.... take the for sale sign DOWN! pay those failures what they're due & learn from the HUGE mistake.

Let's rock'n roll this but do it with people who know WTF 'let's rock'n roll this' actually means!

Posted via CB10

I can't wait for the follow up article a month from now. Let's see if BB learned "anything" from the failed launch of the Z10/Q10.

what's next? don't know, but this is what i believe should be next for bbm, that be BlackBerry OS or cross platform:

1. a higher MB file exchange or no limit.
2. sharing multiple files at once (like whatsapp).
3. release channels.

Chris shouldn't you be in the Android forums with your Samsung!

BlackBerry for leaders, not followers.

If your with Droid, just log back into the BBM and plug in your email address. Bit of a backdoor, has worked for several friends. Can't confirm for the iOS users though.

the "wait for the email" thing was just a way to uptake users at a reasonable pace. It was actually very Canadian of them to think that people would wait in line patiently..


The path forward is important, I that they would benefit most in this run-up-the-numbers phase from video and voice and a PC based App. Really compelling for people to jump on then.

Advertising advertising advertising, sponsor on a high profile TV show that can help show off the features! iCary with a BB10 interface, she swipes to change the scenes and BBMs a lot!


If your with Droid, just log back into the BBM and plug in your email address. Bit of a backdoor, has worked for several friends. Can't confirm for the iOS users though.

The O-Series must be next! I want a Core i9 Extreme with a Geforce 790 and 32GB of RAM! Also, it must stay in my pocket and connect to my optic nerve via magic and I just have to think that I want to look at my phone and I can.

Also, it must be the size of a credit card...so it can fit into my wallet.

On a side-note...I want a cyborg eye that can act as a camera and work seamlessly with my "Neuraphone". DAMNIT, WHY ISN'T THIS A THING ALREADY?!

It's getting better every day

Z30 launched before Christmas
10.2 rolling out
BBM cross platform
Big name apps coming daily

BlackBerry forever

Posted via CB10

Considering Whatsapp is available on many more platforms and BBM is limited to just iOS, Android and BB10 at present, even if BBM came close to matching Whatsapp's user base what are the chances it would surpass that number?

They'd be subtle ads only in BBM Channels.. Just as Twitter has ads every now and then.. Nothing overly annoying whatsoever for a free service.

Just leverage BBM to advertise - to non BlackBerry users - upcoming Blackberry products such as the Z30. Very inexpensive way of reaching a huge audience. Just don't be obnoxious with the 'advertisements'. Be subtle. Cool right.


Hmm. Maybe allow it on multiple devices. Add a desktop client (cross platform). That does not require some stupid bluetooth or sync technology. In other words. Use the cloud to send and receive messages without having to be on your phone.

Not sure if BBM Channels is supposed to compete with twitter, but I hear they are in the process of launching a IM service.

Posted via CB10

I'm still waiting for the dumb email and I've had a blackberry for years!!! I don't understand why I can't just log in with my id?

close the app on your droid, then re open it and use your email address. You'll likely go right in.. Several friends with droids have used this approach.

I hope that the cross platform BBM does well for BlackBerry as it is a secure viable option instead of I message etc.

Posted via CB10

This is not enough?! BBM for Windows phone, BBM for Macs and Desktops, BBM for Linux!

This is not enough?! BBM for Windows phone, BBM for Macs and Desktops, BBM for Linux!

This is not enough?! BBM for Windows phone, BBM for Macs and Desktops, BBM for Linux!

Posted via CB10

I say hey keep BBM voice and video chat exclusive to BB devices that way there is an incentive to buy a Blackberry Device.

Great article, Chris. If BlackBerry is going to do cross-platform BBM, they need to do it 110% and follow everything you mentioned. Capitalize on the viral demand with a barrage of marketing and ensure the service evolves and avoids becoming another "me too" messaging app. My concern is just that BlackBerry doesn't seem to be in a position to invest heavily back into the business...

Posted via CB10

Way to go BlackBerry, now it's our turn to spread the word to our friends and get our contacts list back up to the good old days

BlackBerry users don't even get bbm for free, so why do other devices get it free? I don't know. But BlackBerry will figure something out. Possibly with advertisement.

Monetize via the gps and official channels.

Close to gap, get a deal in the 'BBM deals' channel. Extra money if the user installs the gap channel as well.
Have a 'near me' channel.

Can beta test it with 'BBM friends nearby' alerts.

Also integrate PayPal and visa/mc for BBM payment.

Posted via CB10

I think they should find a way to help people who switched to iPhone or Android find their old BBM contacts. One of the main reasons I wanted to download the app was to see if I could retrieve my old BBM contacts. I have searched the web for ways to do this but have been unsuccessful so far. I really want to keep this app but I don't see the point if I don't have any one to chat with since most of the people I know have moved on to the iPhone or an Android device. If anyone out there knows of a way to retrieve old BBM contacts, please reply to my post with directions.

I remember a feature called bbm money which was available in certain countries, why not introduce that for all bbm users so that they can bbm transfer funds and BlackBerry can charge a fee for those that use the service?

Posted via CB10

To make BlackBerry more popular now, I think Instagram and Snapchat should be released..

Posted via CB10

I guess bbm should add features that are available in other platforms inside the bbm application, make the image features more like instagram, vídeos like vine, the news like flipboard, formalize some features, sync it totally with fb twitter etc... this way it would be vital to have bbm on any phone

Posted via CB10

With all the false starts and the current issues facing new users, they need to focus on reliability. Even on BlackBerrys, the experience isn't great with terrible device switching support, lag, etc.

Then yes, voice and video should be a priority.

After that, I'd rather have them try to let us use the same bbid on multiple devices, just like iMessage. It's ridiculous to have to create one ID per device.

Channels is still in its infancy... It doesn't do more than what the other networks do. They can still take 6-12 months to figure out how to build it properly.

All my iPhone and Android friends are saying it's better than whasapp.... all I tell them is dudes... you know you don't even have half the functionality yet right... wait to be known away.. BlackBerry really missed a trick here.

Posted via CB10

A friend of mine (former BBer, now iPhoner) just saw it in the App Store and downloaded it. He had no idea that it was available. Why is BlackBerry waiting for people to discover it or for us to spread the word? Happy to do it but I think they could reach more people than I can with my 200 Facebook friends. I told him about Video, Voice and Channels. Put it out there BB. They need to know about BBM now!

I think that BBM being on all platforms can be a good and bad thing, it may be good for people who had a BlackBerry and are missing it but it can be bad for people who want other phones, they'll just leave BlackBerry and get another phone and use bbm on it.

Posted via CB10

i think that this strategy of having BBM in iOS and Android is to obviously grow the amount of users and be able to brag about that, but also to make people remember what they loved from Blackberry and try to make than fully change their mind and purchase a Z10 or Z30 or any other BB10 phoone

Hi, now that Blackberry should enjoy some renewed interest because of cross platform BBM, BB should really market the BBM app, BBM channels and BB brand. reintroduce the company and the platform to the market it lost to Iphone and android.

for starters, they can mark down their BB phones--which is better than writing them off completely. the legacy devices can cater to the inexpensive market for smart phones, the BB10 devices--the Z10 and q5 and q10 can be mid market phones priced less than 500USD. and their high end phones should still undercut the premium high end phones by being no more than 500 to600 USD. BB can still tap the market for no frills smart phones. people who are heavy on email, web surfing, magazines (the z30 is big enough for magazine reading) some photography and social networking. ios and android have become very expensive gadgets. a high end bb10 phone can tap the market for high end phones with no frills. BB has to make people fall in love with it again.

in addition, in so far as BBM is concerned, BBM should also be made available to tablets, laptops and desktops, same way imessage and viber can be accessed from tablets, laptops and desktops. furthermore, BBM should be accessible on multi devices even with just one account/BB ID, same way viber and imessage are accessible from different devices so long as they share the same number or apple ID. this way the IM power of BBM can be maximized as well.

BlackBerry has to start charging corporate customers on a per registered account basis to set up channels for advertising.
So Rogers would have a channel with 40,000 registered accounts of people who willingly signed up and want to read their propaganda and offers.
This would be worth money.
How much is the question. 50 cents per year per customer? 10 cents?

Posted via CB10

If they want to increase their user base a ton they need to as you say: market the hell out of it, keep expanding and engaging with their existing social network base, continue marketing partnerships like they did with Samsung Africa, get video/voice/BBM channels cross platform asap, have better support for any ongoing issues and easy ways to report it. If they do these things in a timely manner then they are on track.

I think once people that downloaded BBM on iPhone and Android get a chance to get BBM channels that it will skyrocket and will rival twitter

Posted via CB10

Seriously though, make the planned 4 devices better than average, BB10 the most secure and BlackBerry World competitive. At the very least this will take away the argument from the competition BlackBerry has fallen behind and do not ignore the next trend.

Sent from my BlackBerry Z30

I think they need to add a bunch of emoji to make BBM a little more fun for people coming over from whatscrapp

Posted via CB10

Step 1 - get rid of the waiting list

Step 2 - tablets and multi-devices per ID

Step 3 - voice/video

Step 4 - pc / mac

Step 5 - monetize

Posted via CB10

i think what they have released with is a solid first release. what they need to do in the coming days/weeks is squash many of the bugs (which are minor, but nagging/annoying) at a quick pace. the sooner they get what they currently have as stable, the more consumer confidence in bbm will grow, and they will spread the word to their friends...with confidence!

next, i think they need to work on delivering, piece by piece, the features that would bring it up to par with the blackberry version. there would be no real rush, in my opinon, to get these other features out - you and your friends will already be happy just to chatting on a stable, cross platform bbm client. remember, a lot of people who are going to be using this are previous bbm owners/others who have had bbm envy for years.

i think, though, walk before you run. get what you currently have as stable and bug free as you can, then build on the bigger features.

Here's a crazy idea I had. What if BBM became a "mini platform " that developers could write simple programs for? It could become a huge backdoor to get people back into BB10.

For example, developers could create simple social games that were embedded into BBM. This would be have a kind of multiplier effect on the stickiness of BBM users and give the platform something unique the other messaging platforms don't have.

The mini apps would have to be super polished and work flawlessly. Quality is much more important than quantity in the beginning. Contract those TAT guys that left to create one app a month for the next 2 years. I'm thinking stuff like scrabble, monopoly, Sudoku, chess, checkers. Any game that is social in nature and not processor intensive.

This would also have the effect of changing non BlackBerry people's opinions of the BlackBerry app situation, as long as they worked properly and were beautiful.

Posted via CB10