Blackberry may not be the most popular kid in the block, but it still commands a loyal following from a certain group of people, particularly for its Blackberry Messenger or BBM. The latest update to the messaging app may be a mixed bag for its users. The good news is that it brings a few new features, like better voice chat and better broadcast message options. The bad news is that some features that were previously free are now removed and instead, put in a subscription service.
A few months ago, BBM introduced two new features to the app, timed messages and message retraction. Timed messages basically rides on the ephemeral trend of messages where you can set just how long your recipients can read your message, then automatically deletes it after the timer runs out. It also lets you know if one of your contacts takes a screencap of your message, so you know who is holding it “hostage” for future use. Message Retraction meanwhile, is as its name says it is. It gives you the ability to retract messages and delete them permanently from the inbox of the person you messaged.
These were actually pretty nifty features to have. However, the latest update to the app says that these two features (and also timed pictures) are now longer part of the free app, but will instead be part of a a new BBM Subscription service. You can access it through the BBM Shop in the app and will cost you $0.99 per month. Some people think that this is a bad move for them, as they have a dwindling user base who may not be inclined to pay for a service like that, since they can get it, or some form of it, from other apps.
However, Blackberry may be banking on its loyal users who are used to BBM and have lots of contacts on BBM, to be willing to pay a premium for these features. The free app meanwhile has also added some new, minor features on the update, including no invitation required anymore for your address book contacts who are already on BBM.