If someone were to shoot a montage of the corporate history of BlackBerry, it would almost have to be overscored by “The Times They are A-Changin’” by Bob Dylan. The company has been struggling to assert and adapt its identity ever since touchscreen went mainstream, and the Google Play Store and App Store made its shortage of app diversity painfully clear. Back when a third of us were CrackBerry addicts, BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) was the go-to app for messaging. Suddenly, the Canadian company is making some of the premium features of this app available to everyone, and it’s no surprise why.
What BlackBerry has always done well is privacy. When users first picked up their mobile devices and had BBM as their default messaging service, there wasn’t really any reason to change what wasn’t broken. Also, the aforementioned lack of diversity meant that while BBM certainly wasn’t the only fish in the sea, the sea was really more of an aquarium, so there weren’t too many fish to choose from. When BBM arrived on Android, it found itself going from being a big fish to a small pond to being just one mackerel among many and I swear that’s where the fish analogies end.
The bottom line is that BBM is having a hard time competing with the likes of WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. So what BBM is doing is leaning hard on its specialty: privacy. The app is making some previously-subscription-only features free to use for all.
First, users will get access to the Snapchat-esque Timer, which allows you to set how long sent images and texts are available for viewing. Access will also be granted to Retract, a tool that lets you delete messages from not only our phone, but from the recipient’s as well, given that it’s activated. Whether or not this will be enough to draw more users to BBM remains to be seen, but one thing is clear: BlackBerry is not ready to go gently into that good night.
What are your thoughts regarding BBM and these new privacy features? Is BlackBerry the band playing while the ship goes down, or are they rallying underdogs ready to spring back from the brink of disaster? Let us know your take on this in the comments below, and stay tuned to Android Authority for all the latest app updates.