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BlackBerry Messenger

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, Android, and Windows Mobile users. The consumer edition is currently developed by Emtek under license from BlackBerry Limited (formerly known as Research In Motion), and was first released in August 2005.[1]

BlackBerry Messenger logo.png
Developer(s)BlackBerry Ltd. (2005-present)
Emtek (2017-present)
Initial releaseAugust 1, 2005; 13 years ago (2005-08-01)
Stable release
Operating systemBlackBerry OS 5 and above, iOS 6 and later, Android 4.0 and later, Windows Mobile, Nokia X platform
TypeInstant messaging client

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.[2] 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,[3] and BlackBerry infrastructure handled 30 petabytes of data traffic each month by early 2013.[4]

BBM was very popular in the late 2000s and the break of the decade, before it started to lose out to rivals like Apple's iMessage and the cross-platform service WhatsApp.[5] As of April 2016, Indonesia is the only country where BBM is the most popular messaging app - installed on 87.5% of Android devices in the country.[6]



BlackBerry Messenger was launched on August 1, 2005.[7]

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,[8][9] although animated pictures have a 32KB size limit.[10][11]

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.

In late December 2011, the audience measurement company BBM Canada sued RIM for infringing its trademark of "BBM" by using it as an initialism for BlackBerry Messenger; BBM Canada used it as an initialism for its former name, the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement. The company cited that it had received phone calls from users who believed that they were connected to RIM. However, RIM asked for the case to be dropped, as the two organizations were in different industries.[12] The suit was dismissed, and BBM Canada ultimately re-branded as Numeris.[13]

With the release of BlackBerry Messenger 7.0 in December 2012, voice chat (BBM Voice Call) was introduced.


BlackBerry Messenger is widely reputed for its uptime and reliability.[14][15] 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.[16][17]


BlackBerry Messenger users can:

  • Make BBM Video calls or Screen Share over Wi-Fi or the mobile network on the latest smartphones.
  • Cross Platform Video calls.
  • Send and receive messages with unlimited length.
  • Choose a personal BBM display picture and status.
  • Custom PINs (In-App Subscription).
  • 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.
  • Voice Call BBM contacts over Wi-Fi and mobile data.
  • Retract send messages/Pictures/Audios/Files for free.
  • 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)
  • BBM Store for content Purchases.
  • Timed Messages.
  • Location sharing/tracking through Glympse.
  • Groups can have up to 250 contacts.
  • Fully Encrypted messages(BBM Enterprise Subscription).


BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins announced on May 14, 2013, that BlackBerry Messenger will be available on iOS and Android in the summer of 2013.[18] This would mark the first steps of BlackBerry Messenger reaching beyond its own platform, as it had never been available on competing hardware before.

It was rumoured that BlackBerry Messenger would launch on June 27, 2013 for Android and iOS.[19] This was later denied by BlackBerry and an actual release date was yet to be announced.[20]

On June 21, 2013, A BlackBerry Messenger application was spotted on the Play Store. However, it turned out to be a fake.[21]

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)[22]

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.[23] 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.[24]

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.[25] In total, the app had over 10 million downloads on the first day.[26]

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.[27]

Non-BlackBerry featuresEdit

For now BBM for Multi-Platform will offer Personal Chats, Group Chat up to 250 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.[28] In February 2014, an update ( 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.[29][30]

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.[29][30]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "What do I need a Data Plan for?". Research In Motion Limited. Retrieved July 31, 2012.
  3. ^ "CES 2015: BlackBerry Unveils IoT Platform, Device Prices on AT&T, Momentum for BBM and New Smartwatch App (Pictures)".
  4. ^ "Procurement Outsourcing BPO - Accenture" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-10-02.
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ McInnes, Kyle (1 August 2005). "BlackBerry Messenger Released". BlackBerry Cool. Archived from the original on 20 July 2013. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  8. ^ "How to create an animated BBM display picture". CreativityKills. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
  9. ^ "How to create free animated display picture for Blackberry messenger". 2014-01-02.
  10. ^ "File requirements for animated avatars in BlackBerry Messenger". Retrieved 18 February 2014.
  11. ^ "Animated BBM DP Limits". FlashDP. Archived from the original on 23 February 2014. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
  12. ^ Marlow, Ian (23 December 2011). "RIM asks court to dismiss BBM trademark lawsuit". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 23 December 2011.
  13. ^ "BBM Canada rebrands as Numeris". Marketing Magazine. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  14. ^ "Why BlackBerry: Messaging – a Collective testimonial of BlackBerry users". BBerryDog Forum.
  15. ^ "new iMessage service a rival for BlackBerry Messenger". Archived from the original on 2011-06-14.
  16. ^ "BlackBerry service crash affects BBM messaging for millions". The Guardian. October 10, 2011. Retrieved October 10, 2011.
  17. ^ "Research In Motion on Twitter: post on 10 Oct 2011 at 15:15 BST". Research In Motion.
  18. ^ "BlackBerry to launch BBM on iOS and Android this summer". ZDNet.
  19. ^ Roland Hutchinson. "BBM For Android And iPhone To Launch June 27th".
  20. ^ "BlackBerry denies 27 June release date for BBM on iOS, Android". Wired UK. Archived from the original on 2013-06-10.
  21. ^ "PSA: This "Blackberry Messenger BBM" Published By Developer RIM Has 100k+ Installs But Is As Fake As It Gets". Android Police.
  22. ^ "BBM for Android and iPhone Available from September 21 - Inside BlackBerry".
  23. ^ "Twitter".
  24. ^ "BBM for Android and iPhone Update".
  25. ^ Esposito, Dom. October 22, 2013. Mashable "5 Million People Downloaded BBM for iOS, Android in Just 8 Hours"
  26. ^ "BBM downloads reach over 10 million on first day". CBC. 2013-10-22.
  27. ^ BBM coming to Windows Phone and Nokia X platforms. 24 February 2014
  28. ^ BBM beta update includes voice & channels. "BBM beta update"
  29. ^ a b "Secure Messaging Scorecard. Which apps and tools actually keep your messages safe?". Electronic Frontier Foundation. 2014-11-04. Retrieved 2015-01-21.
  30. ^ a b "Only 6 Messaging Apps Are Truly Secure". PC Magazine. 5 November 2014. Retrieved 8 January 2015.

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