BlackBerry Messenger for Android is finally in the works, the company has announced, with the release date set for this summer.
BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins has announced the surprising news (especially since the company said at one point that BBM would remain exclusive to its own devices) during the BlackBerry Live event keynote today. The press release says that BBM is coming to Android and iOS this summer, for free, subject to approval from the respective app stores. BlackBerry Messenger will be available for devices running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich or higher.
BBM is very popular among BlackBerry users, and it was only normal for BlackBerry to finally bring it to users of the most important mobile platform of the moment. The move is opening the service to a much wider range of possible users (current users will be able to add contacts from Android and iOS the moment the app becomes available).
What will BBM offer?
BlackBerry Messenger will be offering instant messaging with the popular “delivered” and “read” statuses, multi-person chats, as well as BBM Groups, allowing up to 30 people to be added to a group for group chatting. Also available will be sharing of images and voice notes.
Android users won’t get BBM Channels, a feature announced today that lets users share content in BlackBerry Messenger, or voice and video chat, but the company promises that the Android version will get them “later this year”. Contacts will be added using a variety of methods, including PIN, email, SMS, or QR code scan, but Android users will also be able to connect using NFC.
With more than 60 million active users, out of which 51 million use it for an average of an hour and a half every day, BBM should at least bring an additional mean of communication to Android. We’ll see whether users of Android actually need the app is released.
On the other hand, the arrival of BBM on other platforms could accelerate the move away from BlackBerry – users that were reluctant to switch to Android before might be more inclined to ditch their BlackBerries now that they can keep using BBM on the new platform.
Do you plan on using BlackBerry Messenger when the Android version comes out?
BBM for iOS and Android to Launch This Summer
WATERLOO, ONTARIO–(Marketwired – May 14, 2013) – BlackBerry® (NASDAQ: BBRY)(TSX: BB) today announced plans to make its ground-breaking mobile social network, BlackBerry® Messenger (BBM™), available to iOS® and Android™ users this summer, with support planned for iOS6, and Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) or higher, all subject to approval by the Apple App Store and Google Play. BBM sets the standard for mobile instant messaging with a fast, reliable, engaging experience that includes delivered and read statuses, and personalized profiles and avatars. Upon release, BBM customers would be able to broaden their connections to include friends, family and colleagues on other mobile platforms.
In the planned initial release, iOS and Android users would be able to experience the immediacy of BBM chats, including multi-person chats, as well as the ability to share photos and voice notes, and engage in BBM Groups, which allows BBM customers to create groups of up to 30 people.
“For BlackBerry, messaging and collaboration are inseparable from the mobile experience, and the time is definitely right for BBM to become a multi-platform mobile service. BBM has always been one of the most engaging services for BlackBerry customers, enabling them to easily connect while maintaining a valued level of personal privacy. We’re excited to offer iOS and Android users the possibility to join the BBM community,” said Andrew Bocking, Executive Vice President, Software Product Management and Ecosystem, at BlackBerry.
BBM is loved by customers for its “D” and “R” statuses, which show up in chats to let people know with certainty that their message has been delivered and read. It provides customers with a high level of control and privacy over who they add to their contact list and how they engage with them, as invites are two-way opt-in. iOS and Android users would be able to add their contacts through PIN, email, SMS or QR code scan, regardless of platform. Android users would also be able to connect using a compatible NFC-capable device.
BBM has more than 60 million monthly active customers, with more than 51 million people using BBM an average of 90 minutes per day. BBM customers collectively send and receive more than 10 billion messages each day, nearly twice as many messages per user per day as compared to other mobile messaging apps. Almost half of BBM messages are read within 20 seconds of being received; indicating how truly engaged BBM customers are.
Today, BlackBerry also announced BBM Channels, a new social engagement platform within BBM that will allow customers to connect with the businesses, brands, celebrities and groups they are passionate about. BlackBerry plans to add support for BBM Channels as well as voice and video chatting for iOS and Android later this year, subject to approval by the Apple App Store and Google Play.
If approved by Apple and Google, the BBM app will be available as a free download in the Apple® App Store(SM) and Google Play store. Additional details about system requirements and availability will be announced closer to the launch.