Killed By iPhone, Will Blackberry Be Reborn?

Blackberry's BBM feature, once the original and best way to send messages via smartphone, is reportedly in talks to be developed into its own spin-off company.

BBM, or BlackBerry Messenger, was at the heart of the company's swift ascension to smartphone glory in the mid-2000s. It was the first popular smartphone-messaging service to utilize WiFi, and played a vital role in what was once known as the CrackBerry, which even President Obama couldn't put down.

Unfortunately for the various Berries, with the ascension of Apple, Android, and cross-platform messaging devices to replace BBM, Research In Motion (now Blackberry Ltd.) has been dying a slow and painful death for years. Now, the ailing company has brought in an independent body to recommend their next move, and was widely reported to be considering selling itself for parts. With the reported sale of a BBM spin-off, the latter is looking like the case.

Because BBM was copyrighted to BlackBerry smartphones alone, the company has long held on to the platform for dear life, hoping that it would act as a barrier to stop smartphone users from switching companies. This didn't work out. So it makes sense that their last-ditch attempt to gain some much-needed funds before sinking into smartphone oblivion would be to work solely on delivering BBM to iOS and Android smartphones, which is in the process of happening regardless.

WhatsApp is BBM's biggest replacement inside the U.S., and as a result of years of desperate attempts to re-brand BBM, the service these days offers an appealing range of messaging choices and sleek interfaces. At present, BBM still has 60 million users, and the Wall Street Journal reports that the company is looking into desktop applications of it. In fact, they've been working on a cross-platform version of BBM for three years, meaning that BlackBerry's been aware that it may need to give up its best feature and sell itself for parts for quite some time.

In less bleak smartphone news, it looks like Apple might be making a foray into the second-hand market. This would involve users selling their old, working iPhones, which would then be re-sold at a discounted price. We also know that there will likely be two new models of the new iPhone — a plastic-backed, cheaper iPhone retailing at about $300, and the new iPhone 5S in shades of gold and silver, selling for roughly twice that — and that the new iPhone might have a fingerprint scanner.