Before Snapchat, WhatsApp and iMessage there was BBM. A simple yet ahead of its time messaging app. Sure windows and Yahoo messengers allowed people to chat but required computers. Having the ability to talk to anyone for free while on the move was a new concept.
The app had amazing features like voice note and blue checkmarks that we take for granted today. The app was free but required a data plan and a blackberry device which almost everyone had. Unfortunately for Blackberry, a new challenger was entering the market and a big one at that.
Blackberry’s answer to the iPhone and Android handsets was the upcoming Blackberry OS10 keyboardless phone. Unfortunately, the handset arrived at the party very late with a huge price tag and no new features to write home about. To make things worse, you could not move your old pin and charts and had to start over.
By this time, the iPhone started to take off and gain momentum. It was after all backed by Apple. Hardcore BBM fans continued to use it me included but the user base was fading. The initial refusal of taking the app cross-platform gained WhatsApp the momentum of needed. Sure the company eventually added the missing features and took the app to IOS and Android but it was too little too late.
It’s a shame that BBM never got the attention of deserved especially since it was privacy driven. You can still subscribe to the enterprise version which costs money but at this point, it’s as good as dead to the normal consumer unless iMessage and WhatsApp goes away.
I remember people broadcasting annoying messages at 5 in the morning. I also remember people competing for the largest friends list. The good old days. It is the nature of fast-moving tech. Someday WhatsApp and even iPhone may go away but other apps and devices are anyways ready to take over. Enjoy and live in the moment.