Research in Motion's BlackBerry Messenger will have to take on yet another competitor. And this time, the challenger is as big as they come.
Apple announced Monday that it is launching a new service called iMessage for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.
The instant chat app will let Apple users exchange text messages, photos and videos, just as BlackBerry users do with the popular BBM program.
And like with BBM, iMessage will include prompts showing when a message has been received and read, and when other users are typing. Apple says all messages will be securely encrypted.
There are already a number of BBM competitors on the app market, including Kik and PingChat!, which are both developed in Canada.
Those apps were programmed so users on the three biggest mobile platforms - Apple, BlackBerry and Google's Android - could chat with each other. Kik stopped accepting new BlackBerry users after a patent infringement lawsuit was launched by RIM.
It's been rumoured that RIM may make BBM available on other platforms.
Apple says iMessage will be available with the release of its new mobile operating system, iOS 5, in the fall.