I remember a few years ago that there was this constant rumor that Blackberry was going to allow its popular Blackberry Messenger (BBM) service onto the other platforms like Android and iOS. While a lot of people really hoped that it was true, realists were arguing that Blackberry would never do something like that. Why? Because the main thing that keeps people from ditching their Blackberry phones is BBM. But last night, Blackberry dropped a bomb by announcing that BBM will be available on iOS and Android this summer. What does this mean to a lot of Blackberry users in Indonesia? Relief and utter happiness, I believe.
I took some time to ask a few of my friends about what their thoughts were about Blackberry’s latest decision, and none of them said that they’re going to appreciate the Canadian company’s gesture by buying the Blackberry 10 devices. Quite the opposite, they were all very relieved that they will no longer have a reason to shoulder the burden of carrying their Blackberry phones. (From what I can see, people over on Twitter seem to feel this way too).
While CEO Thorsten Heins said this move is a “statement of confidence,” he might need to consult a different analyst. As much as people are using Blackberry phones in Indonesia, a lot of them are hating the handset’s experience. The legacy handsets that they’re using crash and need to be restarted on a regular basis, and the OS is laggy. A lot of Indonesian users are coping by using another handset, often an Android device, at the same time. But using multiple devices every day isn’t a pleasant experience either.
Granted, a lot of my friends haven’t used the Blackberry 10 device. Of those who have, quite a few of them are very happy with it. But now that BBM will no longer be exclusive to Blackberry handsets, why would anyone want to purchase a Z10 over a Samsung Galaxy S4 or an iPhone 5? The three handsets are in the same price range, and when it comes to customers’ confidence, the latter two brands have a better track record for customer satisfaction.
Looking over to see what the rest of Indonesians feel about Blackberry’s latest decision on Twitter, I found a tweet which summarizes an interesting irony quite well. It is written in Indonesian, translated to English it says:
It’s BBM news, but the trending topic [in Indonesia] is iOS and Android.
Berita ttg BBM, eh yg trending malah iOS and Android twitter.com/bukik/status/3…
— Bukik (@bukik) May 14, 2013
Multi-platform BBM won’t arrive for a few months, but after hearing this news, many Indonesians will be happier than ever to purchase other devices even before the upcoming Blackberry Q10 and Q5 will be released, because they know that they can soon bring their BBM contacts onto any device.
I have to give credit to Blackberry though for having the guts to go through with this move. I predict that the platform will still be the king when it comes to physical QWERTY keypad devices. But if people are looking to get their hands on phones with big screens, then Blackberry will definitely have a tough time competing.