Well, what do we have here? BBM for… Android?
New leaked photos appear to show a beta version of BBM running on an unspecified (and clearly uncared for) Android device. The validity of these shots is questionable, as they were sent to T3 from an anonymous source and a leak of this kind would take about five minutes for a Photoshop noob to complete. However, they do add a little weight to ongoing rumors that suggest RIM has plans to roll out its BlackBerry Messenger service on outside platforms, including Android and iOS.
Pictures aside, let’s just think about this purported plan for a hot second.
RIM won’t have trouble holding on to its enterprise customers, at least right now. The cost of switching platforms is just too high, and RIM security still can’t be beat. However, what made RIM an overnight (six-year) success was the fact that not only the enterprise, but teenagers and young people, were digging the BlackBerry. That, in a nutshell, comes down to messaging.
If there’s ever been one thing that BlackBerrys do best for the general public, it would be messaging. Even with an iPhone, BBM has always been that one little exclusively BlackBerry feature that I’ve envied. But if BBM is available on iPhone and Android — as a free download, mind you — than RIM stands to gain nothing from it.
Android leads in market share, followed by iOS. According to the numbers, we’re not looking at a mass exodus of Android loyalists or Apple fanboys anytime soon. BlackBerry OS and BlackBerry phones sales, on the other hand, are bleeding. People are already abandoning ship for greener, Android-flavored pastures. So what does RIM think will happen when one of its customers’ favorite apps pops up on a better platform, with hundreds of hardware options?
In any case, the anonymous source of the photos says that the BBM for Android app is “in the final stages of testing” and “should be out by 2012.”