BlackBerry messaging service rolls out to Android and iPhone this weekend

The free BBM service now reaches 60m BlackBerry users a month
  • (Computerworld (US))
  • — 19 September, 2013 07:02

Amid rumors of layoffs and a possible sale of the company, BlackBerry today announced some good news: its growing BBM instant messaging service will be available for Android and iPhone devices in the next several days.

BBM is one of the high points of the failing BlackBerry legacy business, with recent growth in BBM users mainly in Europe and Asia. Until now, BBM has only been available for BlackBerry devices.

BBM has 60 million monthly active customers who send and receive more than 10 billion messages a day, BlackBerry said. Messages are quickly read in seconds, which BlackBerry said is an indication of how engaged BBM users are.

BBM will be a free download in the Google Play store for Android on Saturday and in the Apple App Store for iPhone on Sunday, BlackBerry said.

"With more than a billion Android, iOS and BlackBerry smartphones in the market, and no dominant mobile messaging platform, this is absolutely the right time to bring BBM to Android and iPhone customers," Andrew Bocking, executive vice president for BBM at BlackBerry, said in a statement.

In addition to BBM text chat, users can share files such as photos and voice notes. BBM lets a user know that a message has been delivered and read and shows when a friend is responding.

Up to 30 friends can join in group chats and share photos and schedules. A function called Broadcast Message allows users to send out a message to all their BBM contacts at the same time.

BBM relies on a unique PIN to authorize a user, which BlackBerry maintains is more secure than giving out a phone number or email address to a new contact.

The Android download will be available at 7 a.m. ET on Sept. 21 for Android 4 and later. For iPhones running iOS 6 and iOS 7, BBM will be available in the App Store at 12:01 a.m. local time on Sept. 22.

Later in 2013, BlackBerry is expected to unveil BBM Channels to allow for conversations between users and communities. The conversations can be organized around common interests, brands, celebrities and more. BBM video and BBM voice calling are also planned for Android and iPhone in a future version, but BlackBerry didn't disclose when.

BBM isn't yet available for Windows Phone smartphones, and BlackBerry didn't indicate when, or whether, that would occur. Windows Phone recently overtook BlackBerry as the third-largest smartphone brand shipping globally.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His email address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

See more by Matt Hamblen on Computerworld.com.

Read more about mobile apps in Computerworld's Mobile Apps Topic Center.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Matt Hamblen

Computerworld (US)
Topics: Blackberry, Mobile/Wireless, Apple, Google, Networking, wireless, mobile, mobile apps
Comments are now closed.

Latest News Articles

Most Popular Articles

Follow Us

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Resources

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Compare & Save

Deals powered by WhistleOut
Use WhistleOut's technology to compare:
Mobile phone plans & deals
Mobile phone models
Mobile phone carriers
Broadband plans & deals
Broadband providers
Deals powered by WhistleOut
WhistleOut

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?