In a struggle to stay relevant as well as alive, BlackBerry is partnering with LG to include its BBM software on new Android devices instead of leaving users to install the app themselves. BBM may not be as big as some of the other messaging platforms that have been released for iOS and Android, but it is now one of the only things keeping BlackBerry afloat.
This announcement comes two months after BlackBerry first attempted to expand the BBM platform by making it available in the iOS and Android app stores. To no one's surprise, the app did see early success with more than 10 million downloads on its first day.
Even though it is hard for a company like BlackBerry to survive off a single application, BBM has long been one of the most popular messaging services available and it found its success at the same time as Research In Motion was dominating the smartphone market. Due to its continued popularity, BBM's expansion is good for everyone and in particular, BlackBerry itself.
As a platform, BBM requires users. Unlike some of the messaging platforms which have become popular on Android and iOS, BBM messages can only be sent to other BBM users. This has made for a clean user experience but at the same time, a lack of users has made BBM an impractical application to use in all scenarios.
In some ways BBM is similar to Apple's iMessage, another proprietary message platform. Both of the services require a data connection, however iMessage is integrated into Messages which functions with non-iMessage users as well. Now that BBM is available on all major smartphone platforms and will also be built into LG phones, its user base will surely grow.
A Mini Social Network
BBM, despite being less popular than other messaging platforms, offers far more than the average third-party message. The service provides people with an extra layer of privacy through its PIN system, profiles and group chats, which are things not available in all applications.
"BBM lets users share files such as photos and voice notes, as well as update their profile and status with ease. Up to 30 people can connect as a BBM Group to chat and share photos, calendars and other files or documents." says BlackBerry's Wednesday press release.
Even though it does not replace mainstream social networks, there are far more social features built into BBM, which is part of the reason why it has remained popular despite BlackBerry's decline. One of these features are minimalist profiles which allow people to update their statuses.
The two companies will work together in order to pre-install BBM on the majority of LG's coming smartphones, and to start off, the app will be included on the LG G Pro.