On September 21, iPhone and Android device users would start enjoying a messaging feature that used to be exclusive to BlackBerry device users. BlackBerry Ltd has just announced the release of its BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) service for devices operating on other mobile operating systems other than its own.
In a statement, the company said its ‘mobile social network’ would be rolled out as a messaging app for iOS and Android users all over the world. Beginning this weekend, BBM would be available as another free download on Apple Inc’s App Store and Google Inc’s Google Play. It would also be available for downloading through BBM.com.
BBM would be available to Android devices running on Jelly Bean and Ice Cream Sandwich updates. Meanwhile, for iOS users, the app would be compatible with iOS 6 and the new iOS 7, which is already available today. There is no word yet if the app would eventually be available to Windows Phone users.
BBM for more users
Currently, BlackBerry estimates that BBM generates over 60 million active users monthly. Every day, users send and receive over 10 billion BBM messages every day. Most users spend about 90 minutes using the app each day, on the average. The Canadian handset maker is hoping that BBM could take advantage of the current combined number of iOS and Android users, which is estimated to already have reached more than 1 billion.
BBM would allow users to chat with their friends, whether they are using BlackBerry, Android, or iOS devices. Aside from the usual BBM features, BlackBerry said it would add voice and video-calling to its iOS and Android users in the future.
The timing of the launch
BlackBerry is most optimistic about the timing of the BBM for iOS and Android release. The company believes that now could be the best time to make the app available to more people because there is no dominant mobile messaging application or platform yet.
Meanwhile, to its critics, BBM for iOS and Android launch comes at a bad time for BlackBerry. Several weeks ago, news broke that the company is preparing to make itself up for sale. Then, BlackBerry was reportedly considering spinning off its BBM service. Just recently, the troubled smartphone manufacturer has reportedly set out plans to cut jobs within the company by up to 40%.