BlackBerry Messenger for Android, iOS finally resumes rollout
Roughly a month after BlackBerry suspended the launch of its cross-platform Messenger chat applications for Apple's iOS and Google's Android, the struggling handset maker finally resumed the rollout Monday.
BlackBerry launched the free Messenger app via Apple's App Store, Google Play and in select Samsung Apps storefronts. The six million users who signed up at BBM.com may begin using the app immediately and BlackBerry has implemented a line-up system for new signups. Writing on the Official BlackBerry Blog, BBM Executive Vice President Andrew Bocking explained that consumers should install the app from their Android or iPhone browser, open it and enter their email address to hold their spot in line. "We will email you as soon as you reach the front of the line and can start using BBM," Bocking added.
BlackBerry originally planned to release Messenger for Android and iOS in late September. But in the hours prior to the official BBM for Android launch, a leaked version surfaced online, generating close to 1.1 million downloads in eight hours of availability and wreaking havoc with BlackBerry's official release schedule. "What you don't know is that more than one million people have found creative ways to 'side load' BBM on their iPhone," Bocking noted Monday.
BlackBerry first confirmed plans to port Messenger to iOS and Android this past May. The cross-platform BBM enables users to interact across multiple mobile operating systems and includes core features like one-on-one and multi-person text chats, voice and video chats, voice note sharing and BlackBerry Groups, which enables as many as 30 BBM users to share calendars, photos, files and additional content. Future versions of the iOS and Android apps also will support the forthcoming BBM Channels, a social engagement platform within Messenger allowing customers to connect with businesses, brands, celebrities and groups, as well as BBM video and voice calling.
More than 60 million BlackBerry device owners currently use the Messenger service, sending and receiving more than 10 billion messages each day. "BBM will not be limited to just Android or iOS. We are open to other platforms also," BlackBerry principal architect Gary Klassen--the inventor of the BBM service--said last month at the BlackBerry Jam Asia event in Hong Kong. "We want more and more people to enjoy and experience BBM."
BlackBerry is opening Messenger to users on competing operating systems in an effort to rekindle interest in its brand. BlackBerry devices accounted for only 1.8 percent of smartphones sold in the U.S. during the three-month period ending in August 2013, according to recent data from research firm Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. With iOS and Android dominating the consumer segment, BlackBerry has shifted its focus to the corporate sphere, expanding its BlackBerry Enterprise Service to manage and secure iOS and Android devices, as well as BlackBerrys, through its Secure Work Space platform.
- read this Official BlackBerry Blog post
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