You had one job, BlackBerry, and I’m disappointed. I’m disappointed with your efforts to bring BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) to other platforms besides your sinking one. I don’t know if you took it easy or didn’t foresee problems that could have cropped up while rolling out a much-awaited application on massive platforms like iOS and Android, but you’ve let us all down.
This weekend was supposed to bring along BBM to Android and iOS after months and months of teasing on your part. Instead, after hours of promises on release day, you told us that you were pausing global rollout, owing to a leaked version of the application being installed on Android phones. By your own estimates, there were a staggering 1.1 million installs on Android, even before the application was released!
Does that scare you, BlackBerry? Did you gauge the massive interest users on other platforms would have for BBM? Surely, you knew of the large exodus of users from your BlackBerry OS to Android, and more importantly, iOS. By popular admission BBM seemed to be the one thing most ex-BlackBerry users sorely missed on other platforms. It was – and still is – the IM app to end all other IM apps for them. You failed them, at least in part.
As for me, I’ve never used a BlackBerry device or BBM ever. However, the application’s reputation has always preceded it. For years I’ve seen friends and relatives exchange the coveted BB Pin. It became their identity during the BlackBerry boom era. I was looking forward to discovering what the fuss was all about, maybe even be a part of the second-coming of the BlackBerry Messenger. Instead, all I got was a steaming pile of disappointment.
While we waited to hear from you that the delay in launching the app was only temporary, it was tragically comic to see your social media team struggling to comfort an increasingly agitated audience. “Love the enthusiasm. Still on the way - hold tight! #BBM4ALL,” you wrote. When things started to become a little more annoying, you channeled your inner Nokia and said, “Hey, at least waiting at home is better than waiting in line. ;) #Android #BBM4ALL.” That didn’t help.
Maybe, just maybe, you could have alleviated the annoyance and irritation faced by all who were desperately waiting for BBM to launch by being a bit clearer about why exactly the launch was getting delayed. The only major update that came from you was 12 hours after the Android version of the application was supposed to be launched.
A common sight for iOS users
The reason behind the paused rollout came as a bit of a shock to most of us. Most didn’t expect that an unreleased version of BBM on Android would cause this havoc. Did you? It takes a great lack of foresight for a company of this magnitude to not see issues like leaked APKs and fake apps around the date of the app’s launch. There’s an amount of blame that lies with Google too. Its Android marketplace isn’t exactly the paragon of virtue. The number of brazenly fake applications choking Google Play was staggering but the blame cannot completely be rolled on to Google because it has an open marketplace.
Let’s face it, as a company, you’ve been facing what is probably the worst few years ever. The launch of BlackBerry Messenger was your silver lining in a dark cloud. You could have reinvented yourself – yet again – with BBM.
Hurry up, BlackBerry!
Remember the scene in the Titanic when the confident Captain Smith has completely given up and proceeds to lock himself in his cabin, prepared to go down with the ship? Well, your story is quite the same here, the app’s release being the iceberg that seems to be taking BlackBerry’s morale down right now.
Once you do get around to releasing BBM on iOS and Android, you know you’re going to go up against the likes of WhatsApp and WeChat. You have a huge user base to fall back on but make no mistake, with over a 250 million and 195 million strong user base on WhatsApp and WeChat each, you’re descending into a war zone. The bigwigs will be baying for your blood even as you release your application, but for now, the waiting game is on since the app isn’t here yet.
You completely lost the plot during a crucial launch period and will have to work hard to gain that faith back from potential users. Online, it looks like people have still not given up on you yet. The Twitterverse – besides rubbing in the fact that the iOS app came in before Android did – is still pining hopes on you that you’ll stick to your word this time and bring the application to their phones soon. The general consensus seems to be, “Get it right BlackBerry, and all will be forgiven.”
But the real question now is, will the wait, the drama, the delay be worth it? For your sake, I hope it is.
A disgruntled Android user who waited up for hours to download BBM.