BlackBerry removes the subscription fee for BBM's privacy features

By midian182
Apr 4, 2016
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  1. 2016 isn’t turning out to be the best year for BlackBerry. Not only did WhatsApp announce that it was pulling support for BlackBerry 10 and BBOS in February, but its parent, Facebook, did the same thing a month later. Now, the ailing company is hoping to keep its BBM service relevant by dropping the subscription charge for two of the messaging app’s premium features: Retract and Timer.

    BlackBerry released versions of its BBM app for Android and iOS back in 2013 as way to attract new users. The two security tools were released initially as a free trial in 2014, becoming paid-for subscription features once the trial expired three months later.

    The first feature, Retract, lets users delete individual messages and pictures. It not only removes them from the sender’s phone but also from the recipient’s device, making it quite useful for anyone who often sends drunken messages.

    The second tool, Timer, is similar to the ephemeral message system used in Snapchat. It allows users to set the duration for how long a message or image will be visible once sent.

    "Building on the renowned immediacy, reliability and security inherent to BBM, the new release provides unmatched level of privacy and control to BBM users without any subscription fees. Keeping control over the messages and content that they share, BBM users can be ensured that what they share is always theirs to control," said Matthew Talbot, SVP, BBM at BlackBerry.

    While the price of keeping Retract and Timer amounted to just 99 cents a month, many users weren’t happy at having to pay for the features.

    BBM will still keep certain paid-for options, such as obtaining a customer PIN or user ID and removing ads.

    In addition to scrapping the subscription fees, BlackBerry has introduced several small changes to the various versions of BBM. These include the ability to save pictures taken within the app to the device on iOS, Android 6.0 support, improved voice call quality, and, for those using the BlackBerry 10 platform, the option to retract all messages in a chat when it ends.

    How much difference these changes will make to the number of BBM users remains to be seen. Dropping the subscription fee won’t put BlackBerry's app above WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger in the Android/iOS charts, but it’s a move that will doubtlessly be welcomed by those who already use the service.

    Permalink to story.

  2. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 1,868   +1,288

    Here are some other things Blackberry could try: how about restoring all the features we enjoyed in OS 7 that weren't carried over to OS 10 or the Priv? Like actual task management (exit an app and it actually *closes*), single-character backspace, a simple task list instead of a huge asymmetrical, Metro-like mess, and on and on. Once these oversights are addressed maybe Blackberry could, like, advertise? So regular people who don't spend their days browsing tech blogs would be aware the company still exists?
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2016
    airahlaguindab likes this.
  3. dogofwars

    dogofwars TS Enthusiast Posts: 59   +20

    Also if the encryption could be end to end like it used to be at least for BBM it would be a good thing.
    airahlaguindab likes this.
  4. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,274

    I was a big Blackberry fan back in the day and loved my devices but even I have to concede it's time to pull the plug on them now.
    airahlaguindab likes this.

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