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RIM says BBM is the largest mobile social network in the world

RIM has just released some numbers on its BlackBerry Messenger app based on a recent study it had done and by any measure the numbers are astonishing. 35 million people around the world are actively BBM-ing each other with 2,000 more jumping on the BBM bandwagon every hour. BlackBerry says the BBM now ranks as the world’s largest mobile social network platform.

The independent study commissioned by RIM done between November and December 2010, sampled 1,125 smartphone users to find out their usage patterns and thoughts about mobile applications. The survey also asked BlackBerry users about the ways they use BBM and their attitude towards the service.

Generally, users in Malaysia liked the following about BBM:

  • Like to share what music they are listening to
  • Like knowing when a message has been delivered and read
  • Like choosing a BBM display picture

Overall BBM users also like that they are able to send messages with no charter limit, the ability to create groups with BBM contacts, and the fact that no extra fees are charged outside of data.

The study also found that BBM users are more connected with their family and friends compared to IM users and that BBM users send 50% more messages everyday compared to other IM platform users.

There’s no denying that BBM is a strong pull for people that are interested BlackBerry device but is the BlackBerry platform just a one trick pony? Is RIM relying solely on the BBM service to stay relevant? What is RIM doing to innovate its most popular application? Can we expect cross platform support for BBM? Will we see a BBM desktop app?

We don’t know. What we do know is that in terms of user experience, not much has changed with BBM and with alternatives like whatsapp gaining traction across two of the most popular mobile platforms in the world (Android and iOS), RIM would need more than a chat app to win customers.

But after all that’s said and done, when it comes to mobile instant messaging, we concur, nothing beats the speed, security and certainty of BBM.