Yesterday, the guys in Waterloo made a surprise announcement that they were opening up the Blackberry Hub to all android users. The Hub is one of the nifty features of Blackberry 10 OS and has also rolled out on Blackberry’s android devices. The Hub centralizes all your communication, from email to texts, calls, Facebook Notifications, LinkedIn requests and even Tweets. In the announcement, Blackberry said after a month of use, one will have to either opt to part with $1 every other month or continue using the BlackBerry app suite for free but with ads.
This move by Blackberry is somewhat brilliant and has been what everyone wanted the company to do since time. Which got me thinking, why did they take this long to monetize and open up such assets and does anyone care anymore?
In 2013, Blackberry announced it was opening up BBM for both Android and iOS users. The move that allowed the company to monetize of its iconic assets. Blackberry reports that the service gets over 1 Billion hits on the BBM store which is at the center of the monetization efforts. Through the BBM store, customers purchase stickers for as little as 99 cents. Blackberry has also turned BBM into an enterprise communication tool, which has earned the company more revenue. A while back, a post was shared on this forum detailing how BBM would have killed WhatsApp and other OTT messaging services had they innovated faster.
The company also went against tradition last year and launched its first Android device, the BlackBerry Priv and has since launched the low cost successor of the same called the DTEK 50 (quite the name for an Alcatel idol 4).
I am not sure if this gamble will pay-off but I think its worth the risk. It means more revenue for the company which is realigning its offerings towards software but has not entirely abandoned hardware, which was at the core of its formation. I think the next item for opening up will be the Blackberry keyboard, which is to say the least one of the best things I have ever used besides a toaster.
I am amped about the new direction the firm has taken but I still fear its too late because frankly, it is late! I do not see a 20 year old getting amped about the Hub or the Blackberry Keyboard, while snapchat or bitmoji awaits. Lets wait and see people!