BBMWe know you're out there, RIM fans. We know you may be tempted by the allure of the iPhone or the flashiness of an Android phone, but you're loyal to RIM. You love your keyboard and your BlackBerry OS, and you totally won't give up that one sacred thing of all BlackBerry users: The BlackBerry Messenger, or BBM. But my BlackBerry-toting friends and I have noticed our BBM friend lists are continually shrinking. If rumors are true, however, that will be changing very soon: Chatter abounds that BBM may come to iOS and Android devices and bringing all its realtime features along for the ride. Here's the scoop ...

According to BoyGeniusReports, rumors are spreading that RIM plans to proliferate its popular messaging platform to the masses. There's no deal or pricing worked out yet, but allegedly, the plan is very real and it's part of RIM's effort to stay relevant as BBM clones make their way across all mobile platforms.

For the uninitiated, BBM boasts some nifty features including realtime notification regarding whether a person is responding to a message, and even whether someone has read a message you sent. You can also send realtime multimedia messages, be it audio, video or pictures.

And so what does this mean for the channel, should BBM find itself on iOS or Android devices? Well, it means collaboration. That instant secret sauce that RIM employs is likely to be diluted on other platforms, but the ability to check if someone has received a message is a big win for all users since standard text messages can be notoriously unreliable, getting lost or received hours after sending.

iPhone users shouldn't get too excited, however. BoyGeniusReports says that an Android version is definitely happening, since RIM has fewer concerns about deploying and integrating software on that platform. But iOS hasn't fallen by the wayside; BBM for iPhone is allegedly on the roadmap soon.

Mobile is a constantly evolving target, however, so we ask you, the channel readers, what do you think? Are RIM's moves breathing new life into mobile collaboration, or is it too little, too late despite the BBM's cool features?

In my opinion, it would have been nice to have BBM on my iPhone or Android phone about two years ago, but I've seen many friends become RIM defectors. Still, I think RIM has a chance if it focuses its energies on creating truly quality messaging software.

Expect a full review should it hit iOS devices -- should I have any friends still toting BlackBerrys by then ...

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