The end of an era: Friday is the last day you can use BlackBerry Messenger

So long, BBM. Flickr/BerryTokyo

That’s it, BBM folks.

Friday is the last day you’ll be able to use BlackBerry’s free messaging service that’s available on Android, iOS, and yes, BlackBerry phones.

BBM, short for BlackBerry Messenger, was rolled out in 2005, two years before the first iPhone. At the time, it was the gold standard for messaging services. But since the age of the smartphone, and with services like iMessage and the huge variety of other messaging services and apps, BBM is less relevant than ever before.

In its stead, BBMe is set to take over. BBMe is BlackBerry’s enterprise-grade messaging service that offers similar functionality and encryption. On the surface, BBMe seems like a simple changing of the guard, like a formality in the form of a name change.

But BBMe won’t be the same – it’s free for the first year and then costs $US2.50 for a six-month subscription. As far as subscriptions go, that’s not too bad, but the prospect of paying for a messaging service these days when there are so many free options could mean that only the most die-hard BBM fans will opt for BBMe.

Warning to BBM users: The company that was turning the BBM wheels since 2016 – Emtek – declared back in April that BBM users would lose access to their conversations, photos, and other data after the May 31 shutdown of BBM. Transfer your conversations, photos, and other data if you want to keep them.