One of the most popular features and big differentiators unique to the BlackBerry platform aside from their physical keyboards is the BlackBerry Messenger (BBM).  It allows BlackBerry users to message each other around a carrier’s texting plan.  So why hasn’t the competition taken a cue from RIM and introduced their own messaging system?

gtalkBoth the iPhone and Android platforms have grown incredibly fast, creeping closer to catching RIM’s 36% US marketshare. With the tens of millions of handsets float around for both Apple and Google, both companies might be able to pull in a few more customers as consumers buy the devices in part to communicate with friends on the same platform.  You can be sure RIM pulled in new BlackBerry users through such benefits.

As newer and more powerful devices see hardware like front facing cameras, it’ll be likely that only handsets on the same platform with similar specs will be able to make use of video calls.  Will an Android device be capable of video chatting with an iPhone?  Out of the gate, probably not.  So why not make use of a technology that goes around a carrier’s ridiculously overpriced ‘extras’ like SMS and MMS?

Perhaps Apple is planning to introduce iChat to the iPhone, after all, there have already been references found within iPhone OS 4.0. Hopefully Google deploys a mobile version of GTalk in the same way RIM’s using BBM.  Unfortunately, we’ll still need texting plans to communicate to those outside our chosen platform.

Do you think Apple will model iChat after BBM?  Will Google ever introduce their own BBM or do you think they’re satisfied with texting?  Let us know what you think in the comments.