RIM Stops Cross Platform BBM Support Development

Research In Motion’s (RIM) popular messaging app, BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), which RIM was supposed to bring to other platforms including Android, iOS, and Windows Phone has now canned its further development.

RIM has recently lost its market dominance in the smartphone market. However, its messaging app, BBM, is still popular and remains one of the reason for customers opting for BlackBerry devices. The project which was unofficially called “SMS 2.0″ within the company, has left few of the RIM’s executives worried that licensing BBM to competitors would further diminish any incentive to buy a BlackBerry.

RIM is expected to stop any further development on SMS 2.0 project and instead divert all of its attention to further development of BlackBerry OS 10. The BlackBerry OS 10 is expected to launch sometime next year.

BlackBerry’s BBM competes against, Independent messaging app — WhatsApp which is a cross platform messaging app and is available on all mobile smartphone platforms including Android, iOS, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, and Symbian. Apart from that, Apple also has its own messaging app — iMessage.


RIM Rolling Out BlackBerry 7.1 OS Update

Research In Motion has announced via their blog about the launch of the new BlackBerry 7.1 OS. Even though the bump in the OS version is quite minor, the BB 7.1 OS update does bring in quite a lot of new features and changes.

With BB 7.1, RIM finally allows users to use their BlackBerry handset as a Mobile Hotspot. Other new features include FM radio support on Curve 9360 and 9380, universal search throughout the OS (finally!), the ability to share contacts, media file and even invite friends to BBM via NFC, dubbed as BlackBerry Tag by RIM. The BBM client, BlackBerry Travel, Traffic and the BlackBerry Maps app have also been updated to the latest version.

In the United States and other regions of the world where applicable, BB owners would also be able to make calls via Wi-Fi, if their network operator allows for it.

RIM has already started rolling out the BB OS 7.1 update to carriers all around the world beginning from today and will continue the roll-out in the coming weeks as well.


Samsung Launches ChatON Messenger on iOS App Store

Samsung, which has been competing with Apple in the smartphone and tablet market, is now challenging Apple on its own turf. It has launched the Samsung ChatON instant messaging service on the iOS App Store, making it available to iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad users.

It offers features like IM, group chat, image sharing, video sharing, location sharing and other stuff.

Samsung had initially launched ChatON on its own Android and Bada phones in August, but then made it available on the Android Market in October. It is quite popular and has racked up over half a million downloads there. It is now present on the two most popular mobile platforms, and unlike iMessage or BBM, it’s a multi-platform messenger app.

It also works with feature phones. Samsung has announced that it will be launching ChatON on Windows Phone and Blackberry soon. It will compete mainly with WhatsApp, the most popular multi-platform IM app and Kik.

Download Samsung ChatON on iTunes: Samsung ChatON

You can check out more details about Samsung ChatON here: Samsung Unveils The ChatON Messenger

Samsung ChatON iOS

RIM Under Fire From BBM Canada

It would seem that RIM hasn’t had it bad enough this year. From poor tablet sales, to service outages, and now a swarm of lawsuits, RIM is taking a beating.

BBM Canada, a company also based out of Canada, is claiming trademark infringement for the use of “BBM” in RIM’s BlackBerry Messenger campaigns. Back in October,  RIM revealed BBX as the name for their new QNX-based platform, shortly thereafter, a US court decision forced them to rename to “BlackBerry 10″ due to trademark infringement filed by a company that develops software, aptly named “BBX”. Fast forward a few months, and RIM is in an extremely similar situation. The BlackBerry team has been heavily marketing and branding themselves with the “BBM” moniker for the past few years, it’s quite obvious that the recent swarm of lawsuits over IP and trademarks has awoken many companies to the money that can be made.

The issue has become quite a public one, numerous statements have been made by both RIM and BBM Canada with regards to their concerns. The President and CEO of BBM Canada, Jim MacLeod, said We want our name back… I find it kind of amazing that this wouldn’t have been thought about before they decided to use the name. The same thing goes for BBX..

The two companies will be in court early January 2012 to plead their cases, RIM has provided a press release which indicates they very much plan to fight for their right to use the acronym.

RIM Media Statement BBM Trademark Litigation: December 23, 2011

Since its launch in July 2005, BlackBerry Messenger has become a tremendously popular social networking service. In 2010, RIM started to formally adopt the BBM acronym, which had, at that point, already been organically coined and widely used by BlackBerry Messenger customers as a natural abbreviation of the BlackBerry Messenger name. The services associated with RIM’s BBM offering clearly do not overlap with BBM Canada’s services and the two marks are therefore eligible to co-exist under Canadian trademark law. The two companies are in different industries and have never been competitors in any area.

We believe that BBM Canada is attempting to obtain trademark protection for the BBM acronym that is well beyond the narrow range of the services it provides and well beyond the scope of rights afforded by Canadian trademark law. RIM has therefore asked the Court to dismiss the application and award costs to RIM. Further, for clarity, RIM’s application to register BBM as a trademark with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) is pending and we are confident that a registration will eventually issue. The inference by BBM Canada that CIPO has refused RIM’s BBM trademark application is quite frankly very misleading.

With low profits in Q2 2011, RIM is going to have rely on throwing weight around, instead of money, to resolve the trademark infringement case. With all the lawsuits happening in the mobile sphere, it’s really not surprising that innovation has taken a back seat. They’ve found a way to make money, without actually shipping any products. Maybe RIM should hire a few interns whose sole job is to Google new product names, to ensure there won’t be any conflicts.

RIM Reveals BBX Disappointment at DevCon

Today, Research in Motion officially announced BBX. BBX is the culmination of their legacy OS merged with what QNX has been building for the past year or so.

The developer conference that RIM hosts, DevCon, takes place over the next few days in San Francisco and then moves to Asia and Europe in the following months. New devices, new endeavors and anything new to RIM is normally announced at the event. So far, BBX has been the most ‘exciting’ thing. No new smartphones, no new tablets, and most certainly no devices running BBX have been discussed thus far.

So, what makes BBX so special? For starters, it’s a completely new platform — except it’s already on the PlayBook, which was an abysmal failure in comparison to other tablets. Okay, well they now have new development environments! HTML5 with WebWorks, Adobe Air, Native C/C++ and an Android Runtime. Even if developers don’t flock to using “web technologies” for their apps, you can surely rely on the vast Android Market, right? Before you do that, be sure to check out what will and won’t work with their Android Player  — almost nothing useful will work as it should.

What did RIM do properly? They announced they were abolishing some of the barriers to start developing for the platform. You no longer need to register to download the SDK. You no longer need to show ‘notarized papers’ to start developing. Leave the credit card in your wallet, it’s now free become a BlackBerry third party developer. That’s right, previous to today, you had to create an account, identify yourself and fork over cash before you could write a single line of code with their tools. If anybody was wondering why RIM was having a hard time attracting real talent, wonder no more!

RIM plans to use BBX to provide unification to their smartphones, tablets and other embedded devices they have in the works. BBM is there, push notifications are there, and their now-defunct proprietary communications backhaul  is there too! Everything you love (and hate) about BlackBerry is basically going to stay the same for the foreseeable future.

If RIM plans on gaining back the confidence they lost earlier this month, they will have to pull out all the stops over the next 2 days. We can only hope that the Waterloo-based company has an ace in the sleeve before they end the game.