BlackBerry Messenger now available for the iPad and iPod

The smartphone maker's app comes to a wider range of devices outside of BlackBerry

BlackBerry's Messenger app is now available for the iPad and iPod Touch and will work over Wi-Fi connections on those devices, the company announced Thursday.

The chat and video-calling service made its debut on iPhones and Android-based smartphones in October after a botched rollout in September. Thursday's update makes the app available on a wider range of devices and also brings more options for finding friends through the service, BlackBerry said in a blog post.

The app works on both Wi-Fi-only iPads and ones with cellular capability. The changes announced Thursday mark the first major update to the Messenger app since it branched out from BlackBerry devices, a spokesman said.

The company's usage numbers indicate people may be taking an interest in the app even if they don't have a BlackBerry device. Before BlackBerry Messenger rolled out to the iPhone and Android-based devices, it had 60 million users, and now it has 80 million, BlackBerry said.

The update also includes a feature called "tell your friends," which lets users see which of their friends on other social networks are using BlackBerry Messenger and then invite them to chat. The tool opens a Web browser on the device to let users log into an outside social network, where there they can invite others to chat from their friends list.

The new version of BlackBerry Messenger also provides an easier way for iPhone and Android users to share their PIN Barcode identifier across social networks, the company said. Some bug fixes and performance improvements, such as fixing an issue that caused higher battery use on Android, were also included in the update.

The smartphone maker originally paused the global rollout of the Android and iPhone versions of its Messenger app after an unreleased version for Android was leaked on multiple file-sharing sites.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

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