BlackBerry adds 20 million new users to BBM, one ‘Here’s my PIN!’ at a time


My Facebook feed is generally full of puppies and babies, with the occasional snarky jab at Stephen Harper or the NSA.

But this week my Facebook feed has been infected with a new, pernicious form of content: the BBM PIN. Since BlackBerry stormed back onto the IM scene last week, the PIN is back in vogue, a sour mix of nostalgia and bragging rights.

Not to disparage the return of BBM itself — I’m happy there is another cross-platform IM service, because choice — but it’s to BlackBerry’s credit that the PIN is as “exclusive” a possession as it was four years ago, when people bought BlackBerry smartphones mainly for BBM.

Today, the company announced that has added 20 million new users to the club, bringing the total monthly active users to 80 million around the world. BlackBerry can be very proud that it has hit the top free app in 107 countries on iOS and 35 countries on Google Play. Over 10 million people downloaded the app(s) in the first 24 hours.

Andrew Bocking, EVP of BBM, lauded the numbers, but emphasized engagement — how much people use the app — over how many times it has been downloaded. “The power of BBM has always been the active, real conversations and interaction that our customers enjoy,” he said in a statement.

While the Android and iOS versions lack BBM Video and Audio, limiting communication to text- and photo-based sharing, BlackBerry promises those additions are coming “within months.” BBM Channels, too, should be coming out of beta in the near future, providing the company a new avenue for revenue through brand partnerships and ads.

Finally, this weekend BlackBerry removed the waiting list for new iPhone and Android users, so if you haven’t already tried the app, give it a go.