For countless ex-Blackberry users the world over (and millions of people with die-hard Blackberry fans for friends), the wait is finally over.
According to a media statement issued by the Canadian smartphone company last night, BBM for Android will become publicly available for download on Saturday the 21st. iOS users will have to wait a day longer for their BBM fix though, as the download for the Apple platform will only go live on Sunday the 22nd.
Users on both platforms can find the application in their respective application stores, or visit http://www.bbm.com from their mobile phone browser to be automatically redirected to the download.
Why should you care about BBM if you’re already using an alternative mobile messaging application like WhatsApp, iMessage?
The answer is: security… and security.
Only contacts you’ve expressly connected with (much like ‘friending’ Facebook) can be communicated with over BBM. Because WhatsApp and iMessage use your phone number as an identifier, if you’ve got a person’s phone number you can message them, leaving the door wide open for spamming.
BBM traffic also travels via Blackberry’s secure network and the messages themselves are encrypted, giving users some additional piece of mind. BBM users also swear by the fact that ‘delivery’ and ‘read’ reports are 100% accurate, which is not the case on competitive platforms.
While BBM will surely see a metric ton of downloads (because it’s hot, new and an interesting move) whether the novelty wears off after a few weeks and users go back to using WhatsApp, iMessage, Facebook Messenger, Gtalk, MSN Messenger, Skype, Wechat or the massive variety of other options available, remains to be seen.
My personal prediction is, this is a red herring. Time will tell.