BlackBerry Messenger is a proprietary mobile instant messenger and video communication application included on BlackBerry devices that allows messaging and voice calls between BlackBerry OS, BlackBerry 10, iOS, Android, and Windows Mobile users.
BlackBerry Messenger was launched on August 1, 2005 by BlackBerry Limited.
The consumer edition for iOS and Android or BBM Consumer was developed by Indonesian company Emtek (formerly known as Research In Motion) under license from BlackBerry Limited. Messages sent via BBM are sent over the Internet and use the BlackBerry PIN system. In the past many service providers allowed sign-in to BBM using a dedicated BlackBerry data plan. BBM also allows users to send pictures, audio recordings, files, share real time location on a map, stickers and a wide selection of emojis. With the release of BlackBerry Messenger 5.0, BlackBerry allows users to use a QR Code to add each other to their respective friend’s lists rather than using only numeric PIN identification or an email address associated with the user’s BBM. The release of BlackBerry Messenger 6.0 introduced additional traits. This update is focused on social communication mediums including ‘BBM Connected Apps’ which allow the user to invite friends to share their favourite BlackBerry Applications. With the release of BlackBerry Messenger 7.0 in December 2012, voice chat or BBM Voice Call was introduced.
Communication was only possible between BlackBerry devices until late 2013 when BBM was released on iOS and Android systems. 300 million Stickers have been shared. Daily 150,000 BBM Voice Calls are placed. There are more than 190 million BBM users worldwide as of 2015. BBM was the original “mobile-first” messaging service and highly popular until it started to lose out to rivals. On November 4, 2014, BBM scored 1 out of 7 points on the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s “Secure Messaging Scorecard”. It lost points because communications are not encrypted with a key the provider doesn’t have access, users can’t verify contacts’ identities, past messages are not secure if the encryption keys are stolen, the code is not open to independent review, the security design is not properly documented, and there has not been a recent independent code audit.
As of April 2016, Indonesia was the only country where BBM was the most popular messaging app installed on 87.5% of Android devices in the country.
The consumer version of BBM is officially discontinued at the end of May 2019. Emtek has announced that it will end support for the messaging app on May 31st 2019.
Saying “We are proud of what we have built to date… The technology industry however is very fluid and in spite of our substantial efforts users have moved on to other platforms. While new users proved difficult to sign on,” since users has moved on Emtek wrote in a blog, “Though we are sad to say goodbye, the time has come to sunset the BBM consumer service, and for us to move on.”
Those using the enterprise version of the app called BBM Enterprise or BBMe will continue operations as normal but there is a $2.50 subscription fee for every six months. BBMe does offer end-to-end encryption and message editing / unsending where the consumer version didn’t. So it may be worth the dollars if you’re still a BBM user.
BBM Enterprise (formerly known as BBM Protected) was developed fully by BlackBerry Limited.
You can download the enterprise version on Android, iOS, Windows, MacOS, BlackBerryOS for free.