Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?

RIM gives BlackBerry Messenger a new social life

BlackBerry-maker RIM announces some changes to its peer-to-peer BlackBerry Messenger service that will allow third-party app makers to let BlackBerry users communicate and share data in apps.

Jessica Dolcourt Editorial Director, Content Operations
Jessica Dolcourt's career with CNET began in 2006, and spans reviews, reporting, analysis and commentary for desktop software; mobile software, including the very first Android and iPhone apps and operating systems; and mobile hardware, with an emphasis on iPhone and Samsung. Jessica was one of the first people in the world to test, review and report on foldable phones and 5G wireless speeds. Jessica began leading CNET's How-To section for tips and FAQs in 2019, guiding coverage of practical advice on expansive topics ranging from personal finance to phones and home. She holds an MA with Distinction from the University of Warwick (UK).
Expertise Team leadership, audience engagement, iPhone, Android, iOS, tips and FAQs.
Jessica Dolcourt
2 min read
BlackBerry Messenger
RIM is expanding Blackberry Messenger, its peer-to-peer communications service.

For years, BlackBerry Messenger has been one of those native apps that has flown a little bit under the radar. RIM's announcement today at its third-annual BlackBerry Developer conference shines a brighter light on the peer-to-peer communications platform, and grants it more social skills.

The new BlackBerry Messenger platform will now allow applications like those in the Blackberry App World to tie into the chat client to take advantage of its ability to push content from one BlackBerry user to another in as little as a single click. For example, you'll be able to select an option while playing a multiplayer game to invite other BlackBerry Messenger contacts to play along.

Application developers will get access to a suite of APIs and tools that will let them create the Messenger-compatible extensions necessary for the expanded content-sharing abilities. However, RIM didn't share a timeline with us as to when the BlackBerry Messenger Social SDK will arrive for developers in beta form. All we know right now is that it's coming "soon."

If RIM has a few surprises up its sleeve today, the new Blackberry Messenger platform isn't one of them. RIM had all but spelled out the specs in a blog post outlining some of RIM's anticipated announcements for this developer conference.

There are over 28 million active BlackBerry Messenger users, RIM said in a press briefing, and the rate of new user adoption is growing at 1.5 million new users per month. Opening up BlackBerry Messenger to new developers will give the signature service a new lease on life. But will it be enough to give RIM greater credibility with new users in an era of Android and iPhone ascendancy? It sure can't hurt.