Here’s What Has Happened to BlackBerry Messenger: It’s Still Running #LikeABoss

Image: Tech in Asia

Believe it or not, my first smartphone was a BlackBerry.

Image: Giphy

Yes, I know, I know…

Back then, none of my friends were holding on to any BlackBerry, which meant that I was the ‘odd one out’. There were so many unique functions in my phone, such as the BlackBerry Messenger, but there was nobody to talk to…

So I just typed away on my keyboard like a pro and lived my life as a loner. But despite losing out to big players like Apple and Samsung, BlackBerry has managed to stand strong till today.

Surprise, surprise, the once-exclusive BlackBerry Messenger played a huge part in this!


BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) was launched in August 2006. It started out being a Blackberry-exclusive, meaning if you don’t own a BlackBerry device, you can’t use BBM.



BBM 5.0 had a with a special feature: Adding friends by scanning QR codes.

Instead of asking for someone’s number(like how WhatsApp does it), all you need is a code and a scanner. This is especially handy if you’re kinda not willing to give out your numbers to random people.

Of course, that is not the only method. You can also customise your own PIN and send it your friends. Or if you’re using BBM for business purposes (like what most people do), you can also add contacts through their emails.

Newer models enabled users to exchange BBM contacts using the Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, which is pretty cool too.


BBM 6.0 was then introduced with a bang: BBM Connected Apps.

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Users can invite friends to share their favourite BlackBerry Apps. So you won’t be lonely in the BlackBerry world, you know.

And finally, BBM 7.0. There isn’t anything unique though, it was just the addition of voice chat function, or what’s known as the BBM Voice Call.

In 2013, BBM was finally introduced to Android and iOS users, and till today, BBM remains the most frequently used communication apps in Indonesia.


If you’re thinking about trying this app out, I’ve already extracted the information from Google Play Store and App Store for your convenience:

  • Free Messaging & Calls
    • Free voice and video calls between BBM contacts
    • 1-on-1 messages and group chats
    • Express yourself with thousands of stickers for every mood and emotion let you express yourself
    • Broadcast messages to all your contacts
    • Send voice notes, photos, videos and files
    • See when your messages have been ‘D’elivered and ‘R’ead
    • See when a contact is responding
  • Discover BBM
    • The next evolution of messaging: Here you’ll find localised content and services for everyday use
    • Find thousands of stickers, both static and animated
    • Amazing deals with shopping & vouchers
    • The latest news
    • Hundreds of free games
    • Follow your favourite football league matches and scores
    • Subscribe to BBM Channels that interest you receive their posts in your Feeds
  • Privacy features that keep you in control
    • BBM PIN – Keep your phone number private – customise and share with friends
    • Block – You always have ability to prevent someone from sending you messages or invites.
    • Timer – Send photos and messages that disappear.
    • Retract – Take back that photo or message that you wish you hadn’t sent *
    • Glympse – Share your location – with a time limit.
    • Private Chats – Safe from screenshots & prying eyes!
  • Feeds – Your personal social network!
    • Set your avatar using images, pictures or even animated pictures (GIFs)
    • Update your status to let people know what you’re up to or how you feel
    • Post photos for all your friends to see
    • Subscribe to BBM Channels that interest you, see posts from those channels in your feeds
    • Create your own channel and build your subscribers to share your thoughts, ideas and passions

What’s different from WhatsApp

I’m sure most Singaporeans are pretty familiar with WhatsApp, so let’s just skip LINE and WeChat ok? Comparatively, I would say that BBM seems to be more exciting, but I’m not so sure about the long-lasting and convenience factors.

Here are some of the unique things that BBM offer:

  • Retract send messages/pictures/audio/files
  • Send message and pictures with time viewing limit
  • Stickers
  • BBM store for content purchases
  • Timed Messages

Latest news

Just last December, BlackBerry introduced this new function where BBM users can hail an Uber right from the app.

“With this partnership, BBM users can quickly request an Uber ride via BBM despite variations in quality of location, network speed, or device features,” said Uber’s general manager in Southeast Asia, Chan Park.

To use the service, open your BBM app and open the ‘Discover’ menu where there’s an Uber Ride icon. Tap on that and log in, where you’ll be able to hail an Uber ride.

So, what do you think of BBM now? Is it still ‘outdated’ as most people would think?

Or would you actually give it a go?

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Featured image: Tech in Asia