On August 1, 2005 Blackberry Principal Architect Gary Klassen nervously sat at his desk while hundreds of people started BlackBerry Messenger v1.0 for the very first time.
The company originally planned for the release as a part of BES 4.1. Only a small number of employees were involved with the first version of BBM, which was to be called QuickMessenger until Jeremy Kettle came up with the term BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) during a meeting.
Jonathan Nobles, the first product manager for BBM in 2005, recalled some of the early days of BBM with the Inside BlackBerry Blog:
“We were experimenting with various instant messaging ideas. We discovered that if we took the existing PIN to PIN solution, and wrapped it in a nice GUI (Graphical user interface), we had a great product.”
Klassen also talked about the early days of BBM in the blog post. He said:
“PIN to PIN [messaging] always had D’s and R’s,” he said, referring to status updates showing when messages were Delivered and Read by users, “but they weren’t on by default”. Turning those features on in BBM created a pioneering sense of real-time presence that’s now standard for many instant messaging applications.
“BBM was the first form of text communication that was instant, cross-carrier, and mobile, in a time when people were still attached to their PCs. With desktop IM’s, you could show up as ‘online’, but you might not be at your computer. BBM was the first to be always with you, and you were truly always ‘online’.”
From that point, BBM grew immensely thanks to the need for a quick messaging service, especially in enterprise.
Today, new features have taken BBM to a level that was never thought of at the time of its original development. BBM has now become a social media platform, a medium for advertising, gaming, and mobile commerce. The service is also enterprise ready, bringing with it a highly-secure messaging service.
As we approach the 10th anniversary of BBM, which is only a few days away, we invite you to share your good (or not so good) memories about BlackBerry’s messaging service in the comments below.