|Initial release||August 1, 2005|
|Operating system||BlackBerry OS 5 and later
BlackBerry Tablet OS 1 and later
iOS 6 and later
Android 2.3 only and 4.0 or later
|Type||Instant Messaging Client|
BlackBerry Messenger, also known as BBM, is a proprietary Internet-based instant messenger and videotelephony application included on BlackBerry devices that allows messaging and voice calls between BlackBerry, iOS, and Android users. It is developed by BlackBerry Limited (formerly known as Research In Motion Limited (RIM)) and was first released in August 2005.
Messages sent via BlackBerry Messenger are sent over the Internet and use the BlackBerry PIN system. Many service providers allow sign-in to BlackBerry Messenger using a dedicated BlackBerry data plan. Exchanging messages is possible to a single person or via dedicated discussion or chat groups, which allow multiple BlackBerry devices to communicate in a single session. In addition to offering text-based instant messages, BlackBerry Messenger also allows users to send pictures, voicenotes (audio recordings), files (up to 16 MB), share real time location on a map, stickers and a wide selection of emoticons.
Communication was only possible between BlackBerry devices until late 2013 when BBM was released on iOS and Android systems. 300 million Stickers have been shared. Daily, 150,000 BBM Voice Calls are placed. There are more than 190 million BBM users worldwide as of 2015, and BlackBerry infrastructure handled 30 petabytes of data traffic each month by early 2013.
BlackBerry Messenger was launched on August 1, 2005.
With the release of BlackBerry Messenger 5.0, BlackBerry allows users to use a QR Code to add each other to their respective friends lists rather than using only numeric PIN identification or an email address associated with the user's BlackBerry. Recent BlackBerry devices can also exchange BBM contacts using Near Field Communication technology. Users can also set animated gif pictures as their display pictures, although animated pictures have a 32KB size limit.
The release of BlackBerry Messenger 6.0 introduced additional traits. This update is focused on social communication mediums, including 'BBM Connected Apps', which allow the user to invite friends to share their favourite BlackBerry Applications.
With the release of BlackBerry Messenger 7.0 in December 2012, voice chat was introduced. The new feature is called BBM Voice Call.
BlackBerry Messenger is widely reputed for its uptime and reliability. However, on October 10, 2011 users of the service in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa were widely affected by an outage at provider RIM's UK headquarters in Slough, Berkshire. The outage lasted for two days, during which BlackBerry Messenger was reported to be unavailable, thus seriously affecting the company's reputation.
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BlackBerry Messenger users can:
- Make BBM Video calls or Screen Share over Wi-Fi or the mobile network on the latest smartphones (only BlackBerry 10).
- Send and receive messages with unlimited length.
- Choose a personal BBM display picture and status.
- Real-time confirmations when messages are being written, delivered and read.
- Share photos, videos and more with multiple contacts at once.
- Add contacts by scanning QR Codes, using NFC technology or sharing PINs.
- Send files such as documents, photos, music, videos up to 16MB.
- Create and join groups where you can share and discuss lists, photos etc.
- Share location.
- Create, like or comment BBM Channels.
- Free Call BBM contacts over Wi-Fi (only BlackBerry OS).
- Voice Call BBM contacts over Wi-Fi and mobile data (BB10, Android)
- Retract send messages (formerly in app purchase but free since latest BBM update)
- Send messages and pictures with a time viewing limit (formerly in app purchase but free since latest BBM update)
- Send stickers (some free, more available as in app purchases)
Trademark conflict with BBM Canada
In late December 2011, the broadcast ratings provider BBM Canada (which has maintained the BBM trademark in Canada since 1944) asked Research in Motion to cease using the BBM initialisation to describe the BlackBerry Messenger service, or finance the cost for BBM Canada to change their branding in exchange for the use of the BBM initialisation, or face further legal action. The suit was dismissed in 2012 by Canadian federal courts as being without merit, and BlackBerry uses the terms "BBM" and "BlackBerry Messenger" equivalently and interchangeably, as seen in the company's official website for the service.
BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins announced on May 14, 2013, that BlackBerry Messenger will be available on iOS and Android in the summer of 2013. This would mark the first steps of BlackBerry Messenger reaching beyond its own platform, as it had never been available on competing hardware before.
On June 21, 2013, A BlackBerry Messenger application was spotted on the Play Store. However, it turned out to be a fake.
A worldwide release for BBM on Android was slated for September 21, 2013, which was officially announced by Blackberry. It was also announced that the app would require Android versions not older than 4.x.x (Ice Cream Sandwich & above)
BlackBerry confirmed that BBM for iPhone would release on September 22, a day later after the official Android release and would work on iPhones running iOS 6 & later. However, during the worldwide rollout of BBM for Android and iPhone on September 21, 2013, 1.1 million Android users downloaded a leaked BlackBerry Messenger APK which caused BlackBerry to cease the launching of BlackBerry Messenger on both Android and iOS platforms.
BBM was officially released on iOS and Android on October 21, 2013. 5 million downloads were recorded in the first 8 hours of its release. BBM, in late 2013, was the No.1 free app on both the App Store and Google Play. In total, the app had over 10 million downloads on the first day.
On 24 February 2014, BlackBerry officially confirmed BBM for Windows Phone and Nokia X would be released by Q2 2014. Nokia confirmed BBM would be preinstalled on Nokia X devices.
For now BBM for Multi-Platform will offer Personal Chats, Group Chat up to 30 people, Status Updates and can send or receive messages up to 2000 Characters. BBM Channels, BBM Voice and BBM Shop is available on Android and iOS.
In early January 2014, a beta update for BBM on Android was released to testers. The update included BBM Voice & BBM Channels. In February 2014, an update (22.214.171.124) was officially released to Android and iOS users containing the awaited features along with some other features including new emoticons and changes including a new look for Updates featuring choices to show All, Contacts or Channels filters.
On November 4, 2014, BlackBerry Messenger scored 1 out of 7 points on the Electronic Frontier Foundation's "Secure Messaging Scorecard". It lost points because communications are not encrypted with a key the provider doesn't have access to (i.e. communications are not end-to-end encrypted), users can't verify contacts' identities, past messages are not secure if the encryption keys are stolen (i.e. the app does not provide forward secrecy), the code is not open to independent review (i.e. the code is not open source), the security design is not properly documented, and there has not been a recent independent code audit.
The enterprise version, BBM Protected, initially scored 3 out of 7 points, but this was updated to 5 out of 7 points after additional information was provided by BlackBerry and reflected in the EFF changelog dated November 14, 2014. It lost points because past messages are not secure if the encryption keys are stolen and the code is not open to independent review.
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