RIM updates Facebook, Twitter apps in BlackBerry Messenger push

RIM, as part of efforts to integrate many of the world's most popular mobile applications into its own BlackBerry Messenger service, is to update a slew of apps.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor

Research in Motion, the BlackBerry smartphone and PlayBook tablet maker, is to release a slew of updates to many of its popular applications as part of wider efforts to draw more users into BlackBerry Messenger.

In a bid to drum up support for its consumer-focused instant messaging application, Research in Motion will update Facebook, Twitter, BlackBerry App World --- the company's online application store --- and BlackBerry Music, an iTunes-like rival music sharing service.

With these updates, BlackBerry Messenger will be heavily integrated, allowing users to share content easily from one social application to its own propriety instant messenger.

By connecting the apps, users will be now be able to share their Facebook statuses and tweets with their contacts on BlackBerry Messenger.

Alex Saunders, RIM vice-president of developer relations, said that one in five applications downloaded through the BlackBerry App World is connected to BlackBerry Messenger.

The messaging service allows consumer users to send and receive encrypted instant messages and files.

RIM currently has over 55 million users worldwide on BlackBerry Messenger. The company has over 77 million subscribers worldwide, with the company hitting the 8 million milestone in the UK last year, shortly after the entire data network collapsed following a datacenter failure near London, UK.

The service suffered an outage which spread across five continents, including Europe and North America, sparing its southern counterparts and Australia, and lasted for four days.

RIM subsequently lost $54 million --- $40 million after tax --- as a result of the outage, but suffered more as a result of the company's stock price falling dramatically in the past year.

BlackBerry Messenger was specifically criticised in the wake of the 2011 London riots, in which an armed police shooting sparked over a week of rioting, looting, and civil disorder, after it was discovered those on the streets were organising disorder through the service.

British prime minister David Cameron reportedly commissioned the UK's domestic intelligence agency, MI5, and signals interception and electronics eavesdropping agency, GCHQ, in cracking the BlackBerry encryption to allow police and law enforcement bring more of those suspected in the riots to justice.

Image credit: CNET.


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