It might be moment to move on from BBM. The consumer model of the BlackBerry Messenger will shut down on May 31. Emtek, the Indonesia-based company that partnered with BlackBerry in 2016, just announced the closure. It’s important to note, BBM will still exist and BlackBerry today revealed a plan to open its enterprise-model of BBM to general consumers.
Starting today, BBM Enterprise will be available through the Google Play Store and eventually from the Apple App Store. The service will be free for one year and after that, $2.49 for six months of service. This model of the program, like the consumer model, still features faction chats, voice and video calls and the ability to edit and retract messages.
As explained by BlackBerry, BBMe features end-to-end encryption:
BBMe can be downloaded on any machine that uses automaton, iOS, Windows or MAC operating systems. The sender and recipient each have special public/private encryption and signing keys. These keys are generated on the machine by a fips 140-2 certified cryptographic library and are not controlled by BlackBerry. Each message uses a brand-new symmetric key for message encryption. Additionally, TLS encryption between the machine and BlackBerry’s infrastructure protects BBMe messages from eavesdropping or manipulation.
BBM is one of the oldest smartphone messaging services. Research in Motion, BlackBerry’s genuine name, released the messenger in 2005. It quickly became a selling point for BlackBerry devices. BBM wasn’t awesome and occasionally crashed, but it was a robust, feature-filled messaging app when most of the world was still using SMS. Eventually, with the downfall of RIM and eventually BlackBerry, BBM fell behind iMessage, WhatsApp and other private messaging platforms. Emtek’s partnership with BlackBerry was supposed to bring the service into the current age, but some say the consumer model ended up bloated with games, channels and ads. BlackBerry’s BBMe lacks a lot of those more features, so consumers might find it an acceptable platform for communicating.