RIM Scraps Idea of Licensing Out BBM to iOS and Android

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(Originally published on notable.ca)

For as long as I can remember –  and as long as BBM has been popular –  there has always been the lingering question if the famed proprietary, secure, and most of all fast, BlackBerry messaging system would ever see the UI of a different OS eco-system. Many have argued that it would be the worst thing RIM could ever do, causing over-saturation or, worse, would pull people away from using the BlackBerry OS entirely; while others ‘think’ completing the port could very well be RIM’s saving grace. Regardless, a clear answer was never given, not even at recently passed BlackBerry world in Orlando.

RIM CEO Thorsten Heins would only go on record saying, “Licensing of ANY part of the BlackBerry OS would only happen once RIM has proven that BB10 is actually as special as they say”.

BBM currently has over 55 million users and a recent report in the WSJ suggests that RIM was potentially seeking to license the messaging service to other manufacturers and carriers under the codename “SMS2.0”. The reasoning for this was to not only generate revenue for the fledgling tech giant, but also to take on the other players in the cross-platform instant messaging game like Whatsapp, Kik, Hookt, etc.

As mentioned previously in this post, the rumors of a port have been flying around for years, some creative minds going as far as creating unconfirmed mock-ups showing the notorious BBM icon as a widget on an un-identified Android device.

Sadly, this post is confirming only what many don’t want to officially accept: BBM will likely not be ported over to Android or iOS.

Word has it, from a source familiar with the topic, that during the transition from Mike and Jim as co-CEOs to Thorsten Heins, one of Mr. Heins’ first orders of business was to completely shut down any and all talks of a BBM-licensing agreement. It wasn’t even up for discussion. Thorsten did not, however, shut down talks of licensing out other parts of the BlackBerry 10 OS, the make-or-break OS update scheduled to launch later this year.

At the end of the day, I really don’t think BBM is as important (to consumers) as it used to be. With the release of Apple’s iMessage, and the plethora of other usable free apps, I feel as though users are slowly willing to accept taking the plunge and leaving BlackBerry/BBM for more stable, user-friendly, app-centric pastures. I for one can attest that my BBM contact list as dropped significantly in the recent months. I’ve gone from several hundred active contacts, to 150 sporadic users.

What do you think? Are you a recent iMessage-convert? Miss BBM? Leave a comment weighing your thoughts.

Info sourced from The Wall Street Journal

Rogers and CIBC Bring NFC Enabled Payments to Smartphones

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(Originally published on notable.ca)

Not long ago, the future of mobile payments was chip-based; it was a secure, intuitive way to pay, without worrying that someone could copy your information from the magnetic stripe. It was a great, secure and, most of all, understandable way to pay – consumers loved it, banks loved it, boom. There is one little tidbit that is not being mentioned, though: the implementation.

It has taken Canada almost 10 years to fully integrate chip-based payments (debit/credit card) into retail environments (some outlets to this day still swipe). Technology implementation on a large scale takes years to properly develop and implement.  So while NFC, in all its wireless glory, is a great concept, I doubt it will be fully market-ready for Canada by Q4.

Then again, I have been wrong before.

This brings us into the topic of this week’s post: Rogers and CIBC’s joint announcement of NFC-enabled payments coming to retail kiosks in Canada using NFC-capable BlackBerrys.

CIBC Senior Executive Vice-President David Williamson was quoted saying:

“Over 5% of Canadians have engaged in some form of smartphone-based mobile banking, and the bank was the first to launch a mobile app, a mobile trading app and, most recently, an iPad app. Rogers is touting over 250,000 NFC-capable devices on the market and is expecting to power up to 750,000 by the end of the year.”

The idea is very straightforward. The user launches a special CIBC app on their NFC-capable BlackBerry smartphone, and thus enables their device to make low-cost payments with connected MasterCard or Visa cards. As for the security? It comes from a secure Rogers SIM card that will start arriving in new phones in the coming months or, for existing users, by swapping out their existing SIM cards for the “secure” version.

Ok, so you’re sold. But, the next question remains: “Will my device work?” Supported in-market devices include the BlackBerry Bold 9900, 9790 and Curve 9360.  Android and iOS are “in the works,” but no timelines were given.

From one perspective, I totally respect and appreciate what CIBC is trying to do here, bringing Canadians the future of mobile payments ahead of the crowd. On the other hand, however, I worry about the speed of adoption based on both the costs associated in implementing and in-market devices – not everyone has NFC-enabled devices and may not be willing to shell out for a new device based on this one new feature alone.  I guess only time will really tell, as six months is an eternity in the world of technology.

What are your thoughts on NFC-based payments? Excited? Nervous? Weigh in below.

[info sourced from MobileSyrup]