Earlier today, BlackBerry announced some new things at their BlackBerry Live event. While the event itself wasn't the biggest we've seen since the start of 2013, that didn't stop the company behind it from making some waves in the mobile market. While many people may not start lining up for the BlackBerry Q5, there was certainly a lot of clamor regarding BlackBerry Messenger, and the changes coming to the messaging service.
The first part of the announcement revolving around BlackBerry Messenger focused on new features coming to the service. They're calling them Channels, and it's a quasi-social media platform. Anyone out there can create a Channel, from a person to a brand, and then people can elect to follow that Channel to get updates. All of this happens within BBM, mind you, so that's the draw. Channels is available right now in beta form, and it should see an official release soon.
While it's great that BBM is getting even more social, so to speak, that wasn't the biggest announcement. That title goes to Android and iOS related announcements.
As you've heard by now, BlackBerry Messenger will be going cross platform later this year. Specifically, BlackBerry is bringing the messaging service to iOS and Android, while leaving Microsoft's Windows Phone platform out there in the dark. (Anyone surprised by this, though?) As you can imagine, there was plenty of back-and-forth regarding this particular move. Is it too little too late? Is this the right move for the company? Is this a sign that BlackBerry is gearing up to be a software company, and "finally accepting the inevitable?"
A lot of different, varying opinions. But, after hearing what BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins said about the upcoming cross platform launch, I don't think it's any of those things. At least, not yet.
"Why are we doing this now? It's a statement of confidence," Heins said during the event. He also went on to say that BlackBerry 10, by itself, has enough prospect that bringing BBM out onto its own isn't a concern anymore.
Right now, I believe that BlackBerry is still confident in their platform, and in their vision. While BlackBerry 10 isn't perfect for everyone (but what is?), and it's missing an app ecosystem that rivals Apple's or Google's, the company must still be seeing plenty of adoption of its new devices and platform. They must also be hearing about people wanting to switch, or intending to switch.
And they must be hearing all of this without the words, "Because of BBM." I think BlackBerry 10 is a platform, along with hardware like the Z10 and Q10, that doesn't need BBM to survive, or flourish. Sure, there may still be people out there who want to use BBM, but it sounds to me like BlackBerry knows people are switching for other reasons, too. Not just BBM anymore.
That confidence has led them to bring BBM to other platforms, because they know that their new software isn't defined by one application anymore. And that's a good thing.
Based on the reader reactions I'm seeing across the Internet, based on Facebook Likes and Google +1s on related articles, it seems that the general population that reads these types of stories is excited about the idea. And that should hopefully help BlackBerry's confidence in their decision to do what they're doing. They're obviously paying attention to the reactions, too.
This isn't about BlackBerry giving up the hardware side of the business. This is about a company that knows their newest software is worthy of attention because of what it offers, but not only because of a single application. This is a good sign for BlackBerry, I think. I guess we'll see what happens.
Are you excited to see how BBM works on your iOS- or Android-based device? Do you plan on checking it out? Do you even know anyone who still uses BBM? Or will you just ignore it, and go with whatever messaging application you already use? Let me know!
image via Engadget