BBM Beta finally arrives, faces uphill climb

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After what seems an eternity, and with the entire concept's validity arguably being in doubt, Blackberry has managed to get BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) out the door in Beta form for Windows Phone. The (Nokia) Conversations blog broke the news just now.

Forgive my scepticism, but with Blackberry's worldwide marketshare much lower than even Windows Phone's, and with every tech enthusiast I know only using BBM to send test messages, this all seems a little late in the day. Perhaps if it had been programmed and released in 2012, when there were still enough BlackBerry users?

Estimates of the numbers of BBM users range from 60 million to 80 million, though it's not known how many of those are still active, day to day. In contrast, Whatsapp, performing an identical job across the same platforms, has over half a billion registered users and almost all of which are currently active, plus Twitter, with a lot of overlap (see the BBM Feeds etc.) has over 600 million users. This late in the day, BBM has a monumental mountain to climb.

Anyway, according to the Conversations article:

Following on from our BBM story a couple of weeks ago, we’re happy to announce the public availability of BBM Beta for Windows Phone 8 and higher.

The application features:

BBM Chats

  • The Chats page is where you’ll find all of your chats; one-on-one, multi-person, or group chats.
  • Chats can consist of simple text messages, voice notes, your location, and photos from your gallery or directly from your camera.
  • Chats also include BBM signature “R” and “D” notifications that allow you to see when a message has been read or delivered.

BBM Groups

  • Up to 50 people can be added to a group chat, meaning nobody need miss out on any of the conversation.
  • Chat, share photos and schedules with all of your friends.

Find Friends

  • Don’t talk to yourself; get all of your mates involved.
  • You can invite your friends to be included in your BBM contact list right from within the app by sharing your BBM PIN.

BBM Feeds

  • Who’s doing what, where and when? You can check out your friends’ latest status updates or profile photos from within the feed list.
  • It’s here that you can also make your own status update, so everybody knows what you’re up to.

‘Pin’ to Start

  • To keep your BBM Group or one-on-one chats just a single tap away, you can pin them to your Start screen.

As shown in the video above, the only unique feature to Windows Phone is the pinning of chats, though more's planned for a version 2.0 release at some point.

Am I too harsh in my pessimism above? How many people do you still know on BBM? You can download BBM Beta here in the Store and try it for yourself.

Source / Credit: Conversations