By Steven Chmielash


Steven Chmielash


It’s been awhile since Blackberry announced some good news, but on Oct. 21, the company announced that their Blackberry Messenger (BBM) was finally available for download on iPhone and Android devices.

And if you hadn’t noticed yet on your Facebook, those PIN numbers that your friends are putting out there is not their banking information.

For those who’ve never owned a Blackberry. The BlackBerry PIN is an eight character identification number assigned to each device. BlackBerry devices can message each other using the PIN directly or by using the BlackBerry Messenger application

I’m guilty of this infraction as well. I was one of the first to download the app and broadcast my PIN on Facebook.

Realizing this is a big move by Blackberry standards, I think it’s too little too late.

Flashback to 2010 when Research In Motion (now known as just Blackberry) was still relevant. The Blackberry Bold was still flourishing with newer models constantly being released and the Blackberry Torch was just introduced.

If releasing BBM onto the iPhone and Android platform occurred then, it would have been viewed as a positive move forward. Strong sales with the Bold device and the addition of the Torch, opening BBM would have only increased their brand further.

And it would have been seen as a way to open communication between other mobile platforms.

If only it was still 2010. But sadly, it isn’t.

It’s 2013 and Blackberry is at the bottom of the mobile phone food chain. They are in dire straits to find potential investors and keep the company from going bankrupt.

I’m not arguing that releasing BBM onto Android and iPhone platforms isn’t a great feat. Ten million users downloaded the app on launch day but there are other messaging apps that are available on all platforms as well.

WhatsApp, for example, can be found on Android, iPhone and even Blackberry devices. To date, they have a subscriber base of approximately 300 million users. WhatsApp might be a constant reminder for Blackberry of what could have been if they released BBM across multiple mobile platforms sooner.

Granted, it’s one step forward in trying to keep this mobile company afloat but if Blackberry thinks this will be their saving grace, they are grossly mistaken.

A company cannot be saved because of one free app, even if it’s downloaded another 100 million times. I don’t see how it could make Blackberry enough money to keep them in business.

However, if this is a plow to show potential investors that their software is still in demand, I’m all for it. Blackberry should get more bang for their buck if investors decide to buy the entire company or the company is sold off in pieces.

Regardless, if their smartphones are a thing of the past, what still makes them a valuable company to investors is their patents.

With layoffs occurring almost weekly at the Waterloo, Ont. based company, dark times lie ahead for them.

However, if one thing is going Blackberry’s way, it’s that they’re following the laws of gravity.

What goes up must come down.