There are rumors this morning that Research in Motion is preparing to bring to Android and iOS one of the key selling points of the BlackBerry phone: BlackBerry Messenger.
BGR is reporting that it's learned from "multiple trusted sources" that the company plans to introduce the Android version some time this year, with an app for iPhones available at some point as well. Details are still sketchy, says BGR, and while the app may be free, RIM could also charge users a fee (either a one-time or a recurring fee) to access the BBM service via other platforms.
At first blush, the rumors pretty far-fetched as the BlackBerry Messenger is arguably one of the most beloved BlackBerry apps. It's also featured in recent advertisements as one of the main reasons why you should buy a BlackBerry over an iPhone or an Android (or, just as importantly, why you should stay a BlackBerry user and not switch to a different smartphone).
BlackBerry nailed the real-time messing service, in many people's eyes, and BlackBerry users prefer its speed and efficiency over texting. Several other companies have tried to bring that same experience to other smartphones. Kik, most famously perhaps, delivered some of that same functionality - and brought it across platforms - before being blocked by Blackberry in November.
BGR surmises that the BBM app for Android and iPhone will be stripped down, offering the communication capabilities, but not the ability to share photos, videos and locations. Is that enough to convince consumers - Blackberry users or others - of the benefits of moving to or sticking with BlackBerry? It seems like a gamble. But as we've seen a number of new messaging apps pop up, it could be that RIM wants to remind everyone that it's a leader in the messaging space.