The discussion regarding Research In Motion’s perceived demise is a multi-faceted one. There are a lot of different discussions encompassed in the larger talk, but the perception of the end result seems to always be the same: that RIM’s time has an expiration date. But, there are services that keep RIM above the water, such as their venerable BlackBerry Messenger. A messaging service specifically built for BlackBerry-branded devices, it features stand-out elements that keep plenty of people coming back for it, and it alone. But, talk about RIM’s final nail in the coffin has stepped up with the unveiling of Apple’s new iMessage, the company’s new encrypted messaging service for iOS-based devices.

So what makes BlackBerry Messenger stand out, and how is it one of the features that keeps BlackBerry fans so entrenched in their mobile platform of choice? While a messaging service may not seem like enough to keep customers coming back, the features list for BBM is an impressive one. Starting with sent, delivered and read notifications for messages, it provides a bit more convenience for those who want to know when their recipient of choice has received, and read a particular message. There is also group messaging, providing a quick and easy to way to bring more people into a conversation. Sending pictures and videos is a possibility as well. And the whole thing is encrypted, providing more security for anyone who needs it.

BlackBerry Messenger is a service that many people, especially developers, have tried to mimic over the years. One notable application that may be the closest to replicating BBM’s services is Kik Messenger, and RIM was quick to notice the similarities and block the application entirely from their mobile platform. It was a move that was more than likely essential to keeping BBM a relevant service for Research In Motion, especially on their own handsets, as it kept BBM an exclusive property for their devices.

But, Apple has found a way to make BBM part of a different conversation entirely. No longer is BBM the exclusive, feature-laden service that’s only available for BlackBerry devices. At least, not in essence. You won’t find BBM on any other devices – at least not any time soon – but the service and features are now very, very apparent in Apple’s iOS mobile platform. With the unveiling of iOS 5, iMessage also took center stage. The new, integrated messaging platform is available for iOS-based devices, and provides an encrypted and obviously BBM-inspired messaging service for iOS users. iMessage features the ability to send and receive videos and pictures; it’s fully encrypted; there are typing notifications; and you will be able to tell when a message is sent, received, and read.

There’s an obvious reason that iMessage has WiFi support, and that’s due to the fact that there are WiFi-only iPads and iPad 2s available in the market, and let’s not forget about the iPod Touch. WiFi support was a necessity for the other iOS-based devices out there, and it’s a feature that throws a right hook towards RIM. The inclusion of 3G and WiFi support just makes iMessage even more user-friendly, and makes it impossible for BBM to stand out on any leg it may have had before today. iMessage is Apple's direct and powerful response to RIM's prodigal BBM, and it will be interesting to see if it's strong enough to supplant the current leader.

I think iMessage is a strong, strong reason for any current BlackBerry owner out there to give the iPhone a real look. I can understand why BBM would be a main reason to keep your BlackBerry, but it’s no longer just a service that’s available for BlackBerry. It’s just a name now. With the release of iMessage, and the fact that Kik Messenger is available for other mobile platforms, it doesn’t seem to me that BBM is a reason to keep a BlackBerry anymore.

So, here’s the million dollar question: is iMessage really the final nail in RIM’s coffin? Or are there plenty of other features available for the BlackBerry that stand-out versus the competition, namely Apple, which will keep BlackBerry owners on their device, despite the unveiling of iMessage? Let me know in the comments what you think.

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20 Reactions to this post

"Is iMessage the final nail in RIM's coffin?"

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Kamal Halder
Kamal Halder the Last Nail to the Coffin of RIM, should be blamed 1st to Android and then Apple. Good Bye Black Berry
Kamal Halder
Kamal Halder Sure
Jp Samas
Jp Samas lets be honset here apple here have just took ideas for andriod and rim just to make the interface better better in a few years from now apple and android phones will very simliar
Chris Payne
Chris Payne The should sue Apple. Apple sues everyone for their things being slightly "similar" now Apple is flat out copying Android's notification system and Blackberry's BBM.
Cooper Treibel
Cooper Treibel I like RIM
Carlton Littlejohn
Carlton Littlejohn KiK could of killed it but RIM ban it,scared of the competition and now theres Live Profile. If you want to kill RIM make something thats multi-platform not exclusively for one platform.
Robert Nino
Robert Nino i lovveeee ios 5 its the next big thing for apple...hands down!
Brandon Thompson
Brandon Thompson yes
Joshua Bender Horton
Joshua Bender Horton I see a lawsuit coming for ripping off androids notific ations system. dumbass apple bastards
Hsi Chan
Hsi Chan As long as iMessage remains as an iOS exclusive, no. I would much rather use a service like Google Talk to chat because it works with several platforms.
Omar Green
Omar Green Everyone would love to have RIMs market share, but it will take s hell of a lot more than yet another wanna-be BBM app to put the final nail in their coffin. I was speaking with a customer last Friday about touch screen devices. Her response: "i gotta blackberry, I don't need all that"...suffice it to say, there are literally hundreds of thousands of people who would rather buck trends and keep it simple. Who would'a thunk it?
Daniel Soto
Daniel Soto Stick a nail in their coffin in the consumer world, but my bbm list has been getting smaller and smaller, I had 2 download live profile. Most of my friends now hav iPhones and android devices. And they all say the same thing switch ur phone dude u living in da past!
Dee Nazario
Dee Nazario Nah, still need a physical keyboard. Sorry Steve, you still don't get it.
Akash Sukhija
Akash Sukhija It's like Uma Thurman in Kill Bill 2.... but this Uma won't get out....!!!!
Andrew Moody
Andrew Moody Oracle will buy them.
Ima PhoneNerd
Ima PhoneNerd I disagree. and Davis and Jamil have two great points. RIM is alive and well for quite some time. iMessage isn't anything new.
Ryan Peters
Ryan Peters hello next nokia !!!
John Diamond
John Diamond yep...rim has ben dying a slow painful death for awhile now
Jamil Oquendo
Jamil Oquendo There is always a spot for RIM in the enterprise world but it is pretty much over for them in the consumer market. Apple really took it to them today, sad to say.
Davis Hanna
Davis Hanna no i still want a phone with a keyboard

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