Think about business phones and it won't be long before the name BlackBerry pops into your head. But things haven't been going too well for BlackBerry maker RIM of late, with iOS and Android both encroaching deeper and deeper into traditional BlackBerry turf.
If RIM does have a trump card up its sleeve, however, it's the BBM messaging service, and it seems its popularity among 15-24-year-olds is proving an unexpected cause for optimism for the company.
The Financial Times quotes analysts from consultancy Mobile Youth as saying instant messaging apps are becoming so popular that text messaging is now on the decline and will fall by a fifth among the UK's 15-to-24-year-olds in the next two years.
And that's good news for BlackBerry and its 39 million BBM users. The instant messaging service allows BlackBerry users to communicate with each other completely free regardless of location, and even if they're only on pay-as-you-go.
It's a formula that's proving particularly attractive to younger mobile users who typically can't get a contract, which is about is far away from the core BlackBerry business user as it's possible to get.
“We’ve seen SMS usage fall among young people and the main driver is BlackBerry,” said Mobile Youth director Graham Brown.