Beleaguered BlackBerry to offer free BBM messaging for iPhone, announces ‘Q5’ phone for emerging markets

Beleaguered BlackBerry “announced plans on Tuesday to offer its popular instant messaging system on rival devices and introduced a new mid-tier smartphone targeted at countries where its faded brand remains strong,” Euan Rocha reports for Reuters. “BlackBerry said the new Q5 smartphone would be available starting in July in selected markets in Europe, Latin America, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. The Q5 includes the tiny qwerty keyboard that still sets BlackBerry apart from most rivals.”

“Shares in BlackBerry were about 4 percent lower early on Tuesday afternoon as analysts wondered what the Q5’s price tag would be. They also questioned if the move to open up BBM, as the BlackBerry Messaging service is popularly known, was too little, too late,” Rocha reports. “Former co-CEO Jim Balsillie had sought to offer BBM on iPhones and other rivals in a broad strategy shift before he was overruled. He cut all ties to the company early last year. [CEO Thorsten] Heins said BlackBerry Messaging will be offered free of charge to consumers using rival phones.”

Rocha reports, “BlackBerry long relied on BBM to keep customers tied to its own devices, so the shift recognizes a new reality where many customers have already fled. ‘The guy on the iPhone is gone already, he’s lost,’ said Colin Gillis, a technology analyst at BGC Partners in New York. ‘The point is the guy on the BlackBerry can at least now talk to his friends.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: That last sentence seemed truncated. Here, let us take a shot: The point is the guy on the BlackBerry can at least now talk to his friends before BlackBerry finally takes its long-awaited dirt nap and its remaining luddites finally go get real iPhones.

Related articles:
Text messages decline for first time ever in Q3, thanks to Apple’s iMessage, Wi-Fi, and others – November 12, 2012
Why AT&T hates your unlimited data plan and worries about Apple’s iMessage – May 4, 2012
The disruptive power of Apple’s iMessage – March 22, 2012


  1. Not that there’s any saving then, but why give away the one thing that keeps the customers they have?

    If Apple where to open up the ecosystem to other platforms, that wouldn’t exactly be considered a wise move.

    1. Because unlike Apple, Blackberry has no other choice. Blackberry users are either going to stick to Blackberry because they love Blackberry even though BBM is going to be useless to them, OR they’re going to jump to iPhone, etc., where they can use iMessage and other services.

      BBM is only valuable if enough people are using it. Blackberry giving it to everyone is the only play they have to make, because it no longer means choosing between the phone itself, or free messaging.

  2. Come, come now MDN! The real point is that Blackberries are the training ground for future iPhone owners who have yet to transition from the supposed wintel smart phones to the only real egg head of a smart phone that is the iPhone.

  3. people would buy whatever phone they please but not everyone can afford a iphone if people love blackberry they will continue to buy it and alot of people dont want whatsapp because they feel its not safe blackberry isent losing anything because if there sales or business goes down they just can discontinue it from other devices its simple they are gibing other platforms a chance to experience what blackberry users experience with and bbm and i thinks that wonderful soo get over it its not up to you all to decide!!

  4. Nice to see Colin Gillis not bashing Apple for once. I loved Colin Gillis, and he was a real Apple bull and supporter when the shares rocketed to 700. But he turned the way the wind blew when the stock was sliding and have been a real Apple basher ever since with larger/cheaper/smaller/phonelet talk Ape need to do this Apple have to do that. Of course I love people why talks nice about Apple since I’m an Apple fan but unjust felt he flip flopped so to speak for reasons that could have as easy have been brought up as he helped talk up the stock to 700.

  5. Anyway. Nice to see BBM coming to iOS. For what it’s worth. Will probably make some people happy. The Q5 is aimed for emerging markets but he really talked up the phone as a really great device even though its is supposedly aimed at low cost markets which I felt was kinda odd. Would not surprise me if it sells well in developed markets since its cheap.

    One thing u found really strange thoug and I am
    Kinda surprised at this after watching the Keynote. It seems that just as with Android the carriers are in charge if the roll out of updates. I find that so 2000 and I am
    Kinda shocked. I would not accept a phone like that. Carriers want total control and Apple broke that in many ways which was really good. Apple owns the relations ship with the costumer, not the carriers. And that feels great. I remember there was even some resistance against an Apple controlled App Store at first. Didn’t Verizon say no to the iPhone at first just because if that and had to bang their head against the wall for several years because if it? Thank you Apple for breaking the carriers control and thank you for not allowing crap ware on your phones from the carriers!

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