BlackBerry, as a company, is struggling right now. That’s not a big secret, especially considering its recent losses and laying off nearly half the company. But it can take heart in the fact that while people may not like their phones, they really, really like BlackBerry Messenger.
BlackBerry Messenger, or BBM, really doesn’t need an introduction, but if you’ve never been assigned a cellphone at your job, essentially it’s an instant messaging and video client. And it’s popular for a reason; Blackberry might struggle with the hardware, but for years they were the only people working on secure, reliable messaging software. As a result, they’ve probably got one of the best messaging networks in the world. And it shows.
Trying It Out
Mostly to see how it worked, I actually downloaded BBM for Android to my Samsung Note 3. I have to admit, especially as messaging apps go, I was surprised. It’s very smooth to use, the layout is easy on the eyes, and the features built in make it feel like a messaging app where people actually care. Other messaging apps, like, say, Facebook Messenger, sometimes feel a bit clunky or begrudging in their features. And the fact that it uses a PIN system is actually pretty comforting; your messages aren’t tied to your email or your phone number, so if you want some privacy when you’re chatting with friends, this is a surprisingly tight way to get that.
The PIN also made it surprisingly flexible; when I downloaded the app for iOS on an iPhone 5, I could pretty much pick up where I left off.
That said, if you don’t already have a BBM account, you’re going to have to wait: BlackBerry will have to issue you a PIN. But the app itself is free and it’s a surprisingly useful tool to have on your phone. BlackBerry’s hardware might be left behind, but its software is well worth downloading.
Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.