BlackBerry CEO on Plans with BBM, Future Phone Releases

Bbm ios hands on 9

John Chen believes in money. He believes in BlackBerry and BBM. In fact, he believes in BBM so much that he would sell it for $19 billion (the amount paid by Facebook for WhatsApp). But until the company he runs gets that $19 billion check, he has a couple of plans for BBM, their (decently) popular messaging service — like tweaking it to become a platform for sending money.

His possible plans were revealed in an interview with Re/code, where he said that the Canadian smartphone manufacturer is eyeing the expansion of BBM services as a way to transfer money, especially in the emerging markets. The company would target markets such as Latin America and Indonesia.

“We’re meeting with partners and we are exploring the market,” BlackBerry enterprise unit president John Sims told Re/code in an interview on Tuesday. “Money movement is an important thing.”

In fact, BBM has already trialled such a service in Indonesia, with its BBM Money service in collaboration with the local Bank Permata allowing users to send money to their BBM contacts and to companies for bill payments.

He also announced plans for two new smartphones coming out this year as a result of the Taiwanese manufacturer, Foxconn, renowned as Apple’s assembly partner. The first device will be called Jakarta and will stand out due to its affordability ($200 unsubsidized).

The second phone will be a BlackBerry Classic — as John Chen calls it, called BlackBerry Q20. One of the key features will be its traditional keyboard and trackpad. The handset is due out before the end of the year.

Technology enthusiast, rocker, biker and writer of iPhoneinCanada.ca. Follow me on Twitter or contact me via email: istvan@iphoneincanada.ca

  • thewinnipegger

    It would be stupid of blackberry to sell one of the services they are known for. BBM is a unique thing for blackberry phones and getting rid of that will devalue the brand even more than it is.

  • Bill

    BBM isn’t very unique to blackberry phones as they have released an iOS and android app already. Good ideas that I believe John Chen is making; making cheaper smartphone AND bringing back what they were known for which is the keyboard. Touch screen tech isn’t their strong point and should stick to making the keyboard experience. Good news for Blackberry, but I’m happy with my iPhone.

  • Superman

    Bill is correct. BB’s biggest asset is still it’s keyboard. They should leverage that for their messaging. The BB should be the ultimate messaging, facebook, email, snapchat, whatsapp, BBM device. The trend towards messaging in developing market away from voice is exactly what BB needs. The idea of a cheap smartphone with a top notch keyboard is exactly what they need to be selling while still trying to maintain their edge in security (which is a shrinking market as BYOD begins to dominate).

  • Tim

    What a stupid strategy. People who like physical keyboards are old people, people that are going to retire and eventually die. There’s no growth potential, just the opposite.