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RIM considering bringing BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) to iPhone?

BGR is reporting that BlackBerry maker RIM is looking into offering their BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) service on other platforms, including the iPhone's iOS.

As far as what Android and iOS users can look forward to, we’ve been told RIM will offer stripped down versions of the BBM experience BlackBerry owners know and love. That way, Android and iOS users can communicate with practically anyone who has a smartphone using BBM, but they might not be able to share photos, location, or videos (when RIM crosses that bridge). Users who want the full BlackBerry Messenger experience will still need a BlackBerry smartphone to get it. At the same time, RIM could own the entire messaging app category on every major smartphone OS platform and could potentially draw new users in because it has given them a taste of what BlackBerry Messenger is all about.

This is perhaps in response to apps like Kik, Whatsapp, and Facebook's newly acquired Beluga offering very BBM-like apps on multiple platforms already, threatening to take over the space created by BlackBerry.

CrackBerry Kevin wrote an impassioned article about this several weeks ago and TiPb followed suit to see how popular the idea might be.

Android seems likely to get it first -- um, why? -- but iPhone could be on the roadmap.

Let RIM know whether you want it or not in the comments!

[BGR via CrackBerry]

Have something to say about this story? Share your comments below! Need help with something else? Submit your question!

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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101 Comments

Bring It! I've had Many BB's they were all junk other then the BBM. So why not bring the best of thing of a BB to iPhone!

The thing you guys don't seem to realize is that with any carrier on the planet bbm is the cheapest form of data. With Rogers for example don't need to get a complete data plan to have email and bbm services and it's only around $10 extra. Also when you travel to Europe or to the middle it's dirt cheap to get even a pay as you go data plan for bbm and email. So from an international standpoint you can keep in touch with people all around the world for as long as you like without having to pay a lot. When I travel iNstead of activating an international phone line with Rogers I simply use bbm instead. So it really depends what you need it for.

What is to strip down haha. It's a solid white background with black text that you send to people. I don't know what there really is to strip down. I used it years ago when I had a few BB devices and wasn't ever impressed with it.

Well they have been branding it as "BBM" rather then "Blackberry Messenger" for a bit now, so its the logical progression of the brand.

This is absolutely mandatory, as SMS, MMS, E-mail...etc weren't effective means of communicating smartphone to smartphone before. We've needed BBM for too long. Thank zombie-Jesus for this wonderful blessing.

So... It's mandatory now because SMS wasn't mature years ago? BBM sounds like a featureless IM system, which isn't very appealing.

Bring it on! As a former Blackberry user (my Storm2 is still active though) this is a dream come true for my iPhone4!

He is a complete moron, he don't that bbm ( PIN IN THE THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES). Is replaceable with whatsapp, beluga, pingchat. They do the same, but blackberry are in love with that crap.

After switching to the iPhone from a BB, I did miss BBM. Now I could care less. I have unlimited texting so I just text people. Can RIM and Blackberry just become obsolete already. The phones are junk.

Couldn't agree with you more Chris. bbm has always sounded ridiculous to me, and the UI on BB's has annoyed me for years.

really? junk? please expand on your argument? I can argue that iphones are junk too but I would need to back up my argument like how until the first ios update you were not able to copy and paste. and up until 4.3 you were not able to charge and use your phone at the same time.

What the hell are you talking about, not able to charge and use the iphone by the same time ?? I'm on 4.0 and I do this all the time ?!

Oh yeah, we NEED BBM in addition to AIM, Yahoo, MSN, GTalk, Skype and all the other instant messaging services available to the iPhone.

The point is enterprise integration. If the enterprise is already using BBM, then making the transition to products like iPad is easier. it's not necessarily good for RIM, but I guess they have determined that they're going to lose a significant share of the enterprise market - the best way forward is to work with other devices, not isolate itself.

That wasn't in response to you, Jeff. I was going to reply to you, but then changed my mind and forgot to refresh my browser. ;)

I'm not sure what they're "starting to get", other than the final nail in RIM's coffin. Why share the only real advantage you have in the smartphone market unless you're trying to set yourself up for a takeover. I wonder when the first Googleberry phone will hit the market?

When apps like WhatsApp outshine BBM in form and function, and are already available on the 3 major platforms, there is not point to getting BBM.

Ever hear the quote "You can't teach an old dog new apps?" or was it "tricks?" I don't know. With your age, I'm sure you have. Which is why I'll address the major factor that RIM would ever spend the time and effort cultivating a BBM app. for devices aside from their own - because users will want to leave RIM, but keep a RIM familiar experience in some aspects.

YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND!!!!
i miss bbm so bad.... you could make sentences that make sense out of smilies.

ehh... everyone i know who USED to have a blackberry have moved on to iPhone or some android device. and if they disable photo sharing? no thanks. pingchat does everything i need outside of email and it looks better

i think back when i had a bb i really only knew one other person who used bbm. i could care less about it. ha!

The only person I know who still has a BB is my mom. Everyone else who used to have one has an iPhone or some Android device now. BBM is of no use to me.

Agreed. If this is true, then RIM is a little too late to the party. They should have done this a couple of years ago. Like you, everyone I know has switched to either the iPhone or an Android device. My dad is one of the few people I know who still has a BlackBerry and that's because his company will only support them. If he had his way, he'd have an iPhone himself.

It's always astonishing to contemplated why these big phone companies do not capitalize on their strengthens before other people make comparable software or hardware.
I've always wondered why RIM hasn't made BBM available on multiple mobile OS's; or why Microsoft hasn't made Office and Skydrive widely available or made a Zune WP7; or Google hasn't placed its Navigation software on other platforms; or Apple with iTunes or iMovies; etc....
I understand the factors of competition and consumer gain and loss. But I feel, for example, if MS would have put Office on iOS, Android, webOS, etc; linked it to Skydrive and sold it for $5-$10 they would have made a lot from it. Now there's Documents to Go and QuickOffice.

I ctepleomly agree. Thus far I have three girls and it is one of my most strident efforts: to shield them from the oversexed media aimed at them and ALL women!

They should bring it, however if its stripped down.. I will most likely still use WhatsApp that lets me do everything.. Whats the point of doing it if they aren't going all out.. people on iOS or Android now using other messaging apps wont all of a sudden run to BB because they want to be able to send pics, videos and such through BBM. What I do know however is if they Bring full fledged BBM to iOS and Android, they will loose a lot of BB users..

I love the idea! Stripped down or not. I used to swear by BlackBerry and BBM (read: SMS-type text messaging, MMS-like picture messaging as well as videos, all through data, not SMS text package allowances)
@kayno: WhatsApp may be a nice app, but there is no IM client that can do BBM messaging, period.

$.99 on the app store. I can see it now. RIM might as well make money where they can. Most people are tired of waiting for crackberry updates, I know I was. LOL.

Say "NO" to that stupid idea. We don't need that messenger from RIM. we got from whatsapp (that is way better). To beluga, yahoo, hotmail, aol, pinhchat etc etc etc.
So WE DON'T NEED NOTHING FROM RIM. go away with that stupid idea.

deifnitely bring BBM to iPhone. Switched from blackberry and left a lot of friends in Canada out of touch. Doing this could only help RIM, not hurt anyway.

If you like keep in touch with them, download whatsapp or beluga and let then know about it. We don't need RIM in our iOS devices!!!

Yes RIM, strip down all the features and make it no different than TEXTING YOUR BLACKBERRY FRIEND.
Might as well not download the app at all and just save the app space.

First of all if you add all the different models of blackberries there are, somebody is still doing something right over at Rim. Iphone might be #1 but Blackberries are like #3, #4, #6, #7, #8, and #9 in sales. So i think the point is how it would make the bbm users be able to contact many more people and vice verse with their BBM app. As a former current ipad owner and current BBM owner BBM is a ridiculously better means of communication from device to device. You cant knock it if you haven't ever used it for a couple of days. There's a reason the sister site is called "crackberry" , its addictive..

I was a former bb user before getting my iPhone on big red. BBM is a great way to communicate and I am very excited about this news. I run my own company and a majority of my professional contacts have BBM. It might be a very simple ui but it did what it advertised. BBM would be great and I hope it does come to the iPhone.

Oh and one more thing. For the people that are suggesting that iPhone users should suggest other messaging apps to their friends to communicate like bbm...that's just a horrible idea. That's like telling a friend can you download this messaging app so I can text you for free instead of wasting my texts on you? That's what I think at least.

Well, I would love it. I and my wife have iPhone 4's but I also have a BB. I would love to be able to use BBM to contact her. It is fast and easy to use. Ideally RIM would offer basic texting add on for $3.00 a month or a small yearly subscription. If you wanted the full BBM it would cost more. Not over $7.00 and probably $5.00-5.99 would sell it. WhatsApp is nice but not as fast and accurate, I use it on my BB to contact my wife and others who do not have BB's.
As for RIM and BB being dead, that is crazy. They have the best enterprise security system for business and BIS rules. Yes, the OS is way past its prime but look for that to change probably in 2012. They are also number one in many emerging countries,they can resell older phones for those networks that haven't gone 3.3.5,3.75 and pseudo 4G.

Yes, RIM! Do it! Although, it would be much more preferable if you included ALL the functions of the original BBM! I would buy the app on my iPhone as soon as it comes out! :)

BBM's method of adding contacts seems quite troublesome. i prefer whatsapp's style where it auto adds contacts based on ur phonebook list. And a severely 'dumbed down' bbm wud serve no purpose on my iphone with superior messenger apps readily available on the appstore.

Agreed Deepan. Absolutely correct. Whats App is already smarter than "whatever RIM is coming out with BBM for iPhone" and it is getting fine tuned with next versions.

the reason i love blackberrys so much other then bbm CUZ ITS SOo EASY TO type with... i would never get an iphone unless it came with a full keyboard. imagine typing an long as email with an iphone... i guess the good thing bout it is that itll stop me from msgin while driving.. lol

I've waiting for this possibility for so long so bringing Blackberry BBM to Iphone is like a Miracle for me as concerned as i am

This is the worst business move ever. They r giving up there only competitive advantage to their competition. If there phones could compete with apple or android it would be a good idea but the only thing they have going for them is BBM and there giving it away. Idiots!

I personally don't see why RIM would do this. I use a BB because the keyboard is superior and I'm comletely resisting getting used to a full touchscreen phone. However, I don't use BBM all that much despite having quite a few friends who have BBs. I think it's great, I just don't really see a need for it. It does have some advantages that I use from time to time.
I think that right now in the app market there are many alternatives, so most people who aren't on a BB won't go for it. I'd rather SMS, but if my iPhone and Android friends could get BBM, I'd probably start using it more.

For as long as WhatsApp is avaiable on all platforms, I see absolutely no reason for BBM on iPhone. This space, along with VoIP, is getting too crowded. Pick a vendor and go with it. It looks like Skype have VoIP nailed. Maybe WhatsApp is a suitor for on-the-go chat

I'm pretty sure RIM is doing this as a teaser. The BBM app for the iOS and android phones will literally just be a multi-platform version of unlimited SMS. They're also gonna charge an arm and a leg for it. That's my prediction, at least.

Striped down version of BBM for iPhone and Androids?? Ha Ha Ha Ha..... RIM is joking. And I am pretty sure once RIM starts developing app for iPhone they can't even think of making an app that won't be able to share photos, videos etc..... RIM, let me tell you one thing..... GROW UP BOYZ!!! What's app Rocks.... and if RIM wants BBM to take over this space and be no.1 then they should be coming with a fully loaded BBM app for iPhone. That will be a smart move.

The advantage of BBM is that it's the standard on blackberry phone while iOS and android user users don't have a standard messaging app and the more messaging apps released fragments the market more, two of my daughters and my wife have blackberry's I have the iPhone 4, I have whatapp ect. But I don't know anyone who uses them

I have both a BlackBerry and iPhone out of necessity (one for work and one for personal), and I like how fast and convenient BBM is. Bringing it to the iPhone would be cool, but I don't know whether BBM would have the critical mass to push out cross-platform apps such as WhatsApp or PingChat, especially if the BBM version offered is a chat-only program.
Without that critical mass, BBM would still be just a minor player in the iPhone/Android market, meaning uptake would be slower than anticipated. And if few people use it, there would be little incentive to download it in the first place.
Maybe instead of waiting for people to download it, RIM could partner with other mobile phone manufacturers to place BBM on their phones by default?
I have my own editorial about this here: http://blog.bulsuk.com/2011/03/editorial-blackberry-messenger-bbm-on.html

I Think that RIM should definitely offer BBM as a cross plat-form texting for smartphones. I think offering a partal version for free is great but if they offered the full version at a one time price of $10-$15 they would still make a ton of money, because I know tons of people who would pay it to be able to have the ability to BBM their friends. There are also millions of people out there who would definitely pay for an app like BBM. I think if RIM thinks this through correctly we can see a dramatic shift in SMS messaging and PERHAPS if done correctly a new monopoly when it comes to text messaging if RIM does justice to BBM and getting it out there to other smartphones. I'm just saying.

Please do it! Honestly, that is the only thing I miss from switching to the iPhone (Whig by far is superior in every sense) I know everyone would pay for it so they aren't going to be losing money. The longer whatsapp stays on the market the less time blackberry stands a chance as a whole. Switching from the bb I had over 160+ contacts and now am down to around 80. I rarely call people and dont need their numbers- bbm pin is pretty much more than I need in order to stay in touch with them. Now 56 out of the 80 contacts on my phone have whatsapp - anyone would be a fool to say that people wont buy bbm. Whatsapp does the job- but we all miss the bbm experience. RIM needs to realize their phones are a piece of crap and when people are looking to find other instant meesaging services the bbm hype will die- meaning their sales will plummet as well. It would be a smart move on their end to make bbm an app for not only the iPhone but android phones as well. Hell, I would download it for 10 bucks! But that's because I had a bb at one point. I say 4.99 max and fully loaded would be the best choice they could ever make.

This is what I'm waiting to switch to Iphone! really we do need the BBM. I also use whatsApp and is NEVER IN HELL THE SAME THING!! we DO NEED the BBM in the Iphone PLEASEEEE

Yes.. Please bring BBM to iPhone.. Have been waiting for it for a long time now.. Its like a dream come true.. Please..

id really like bbm in the iphone because you can do anything with the apps they have so the only hing missing is bbm in the iphone, or even the ipad

BBM for iPhone all my friends can't afford iPhones and get blackberrys for free from the career I'm a x BB user and that's the single and only thing iPhone CAN'T do BlackBerry/R.I.M please HOOK IT UP!

omg bbm on the iphone awsoooooome!!!!!!????? its going to be cool because now all smart phones can communcait !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! pleeese put bbm on _ iphoneandroidand noika naaah dont put it on noika

Please bring bbm to an iPhone that would be amazing blackberry's and iPhone both communicating together is the smartest idea this will be huge. Looking at the number 1 app on a iPhone guaranteed

Would be great I would pay the person who makes it onistly I want bbm on iPhone bad man !!

BBM is the only think holding me back from getting an iphone. if iphone got BBM i would buy it in a heartbeat

Yea bbm is holding me back from getting an iphone too it would be great if it was on the iphone aswell then i would deffinatly buy it !

I love my blackberry i do not like touch phones Ive had then an ddo not want them but I hvae many friends that have I phones that I would love to keep in touch with thru the bbm but to pay for whats app is not what I'm willing to do nor are they!!!

Your logo is very iesmrpsing and I liked it very much. Its very exciting and would like to share it with my friends. At the most I pray for your sucess.

BBM is a great! I wish I had it on the iPhone! I am an ex-blackberry user. The only thing i miss about the Blackberry is the messaging and email service. As a phone, nothing beets the iPhone.

I been waiting for this:) ....
but honestly , don't disable anything . cause bbm doesn't have a whole lot of special features to begin with .
but all the rest of the bootleg iPhone apps that try to get like bbm fail . this is so helpfull and all my friends have blackberries , now I can stick to keeping my lovable iPhone 4 :) !!!

Yes pls. Bring it on. My company has it and I'm the only one not using it because I choose iPhone.