BlackBerry Messenger Shutting Down at the End of May

BlackBerry Messenger, aka BBM, is set to shut down on May 31, 2019, BlackBerry announced today. Prior to when the iPhone launched and for several years afterwards, BBM was a key communication method on BlackBerry phones.

As BlackBerry devices fell out of favor, BlackBerry aimed to keep BBM alive with an iOS app that's been available since 2013, but with Messages, WhatsApp, WeChat, and other messaging apps, it's been tough for BBM to compete.


BlackBerry tried to revamp BBM three years ago as a cross-platform messaging service for chatting, watching content, and using payment services, but it didn't work out.
We poured our hearts into making this a reality, and we are proud of what we have built to date.

The technology industry however, is very fluid, and in spite of our substantial efforts, users have moved on to other platforms, while new users proved difficult to sign on.

Though we are sad to say goodbye, the time has come to sunset the BBM consumer service, and for us to move on.
BBM users who don't want the service to end can download BBMe through the Google Play store, as the enterprise version of the app is still available. There is no version for iOS, but CNET says an iOS app is in the works.


This article, "BlackBerry Messenger Shutting Down at the End of May" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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iPhone and Android Smartphone Duopoly Reaches Peak With Estimated 99.9% Market Share Last Year

A record 99.9 percent of smartphones sold worldwide last year were based on either Android or iOS, as all competing platforms have effectively been squeezed out, according to data shared today by research firm Gartner.


Android remains more widely adopted than iOS by a significant margin, with a roughly 86-14 percent split between the respective operating systems last year. Android's dominance is unsurprising given the software is installed on dozens of different smartphone models offered at a range of price points, whereas the iPhone primarily caters to the high-end market.

iOS and Android have been the leading mobile operating systems for many years now, but the duopoly became so dominant last year that Gartner doesn't even break out BlackBerry and Windows Phone individually anymore. Together, the platforms accounted for less than 0.1 percent market share in 2017.


For perspective, Gartner estimates that of the just over 1.5 billion smartphones sold worldwide last year, handsets running BlackBerry OS, Windows Mobile, and all other platforms made up only 1.5 million of the total.

The writing has long been on the wall for BlackBerry and Windows Phone, which have been ceding market share to Apple and Google for the better part of the last decade. But with Android and iOS finally reaching 99.9 percent market share, it looks like the platforms will be officially dead soon enough.

In the meantime, BlackBerry recently announced it will continue to support its BlackBerry 10 operating system for at least two more years, but it encourages customers to upgrade to its Android-based smartphones manufactured by TCL. BlackBerry World and other legacy services will shut down by the end of 2019.

Back in October, Microsoft likewise announced that it will continue to support Windows 10 Mobile with security updates and bug fixes, but it will no longer develop new features or release any new Windows Phones.

The fall of BlackBerry in particular is remarkable given it was the pioneer of the smartphone industry. Its devices actually continued to grow in popularity for around two years after the iPhone launched in June 2007, at the expense of then-leading Nokia, with a peak market share of around 20 percent in 2009.

It only took a few years until the surging popularity of iPhones and Samsung Galaxy smartphones led iOS and Android to leapfrog BlackBerry and Nokia, and based on today's data, the duopoly is now firmly entrenched.


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Blackberry Announces New All-Screen ‘Motion’ Smartphone With 4,000mAh Battery

Blackberry announced its latest crack at an all-screen smartphone during the GITEX Technology Week in Dubai on Sunday. The Motion is the company's third Android phone to ditch the keyboard following the release of the DTEK50 and DTEK60 in 2016. Blackberry also released the KEYone earlier this year, but that device includes a keyboard below the touchscreen.

The Motion's 5.5-inch LCD display and Snapdragon 625 system-on-a-chip is powered by a large 4,000mAh battery (the iPhone 8 Plus has a 2,675mAh battery), which Blackberry hopes will appeal to business users looking for all-day battery life. Like all of the company's branded handsets these days, the Motion is actually made by Chinese company TCL Communication.

The Blackberry Motion (Image: Evan Blass)

The phone will be initially available in Middle Eastern markets for approximately $460, with availability in the U.S. likely further down the line.

Blackberry officially discontinued its keyboard-rocking Blackberry Classic in July 2016 and later declared it would cease internally developing its own handsets, relying on partnerships with other companies instead while it focuses on software development.

The rise of the iPhone famously wiped out Blackberry's smartphone market share, but the company's pivot towards mobile security has been a profitable one, with its recent quarterly earnings report exceeding expectations.

The company reported record gross margins of 76 percent, up from 67 percent last quarter and 62 percent a year ago, despite the fact its hardware market share remains essentially zero.


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