Report: BlackBerry Messenger for Android coming by late September
"The service is coming to Android this summer," said Sunil Lalvani, managing director for BlackBerry India. "But summer as per North America, where it remains till September." Asked if that means BBM for Android will roll out prior to the end of September, Lalvani said yes.
BlackBerry confirmed plans to port its BBM service to Android and Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS in May, promising to launch sometime this summer. BBM will enable users to interact across multiple mobile operating systems and will include 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. The Android and iOS apps also will support BBM Channels, a new social engagement platform within Messenger allowing customers to connect with businesses, brands, celebrities and groups.
Lalvani did not indicate when BlackBerry will issue BBM for iOS or if it will roll out at the same time as its Android counterpart. BlackBerry did not respond to a request for clarification.
BlackBerry is opening Messenger to users on competing operating systems in an effort to rekindle consumer interest in its brand and combat a new generation of cross-platform, over-the-top messaging services like WhatsApp, Kik Messenger and Viber. Last month, BlackBerry revealed it is in negotiations with competing manufacturers to offer BBM as a preinstalled application on their phones. "There is interest from other handset makers," BlackBerry Chief Operating Officer Kristian Tear told CNet, noting that interest is fueled by BBM's sizable userbase: 61 million worldwide, including 42.7 million daily active users. Tear declined to name any specific companies in talks to offer the preloaded BBM app.
Tear also acknowledged the possibility that some longtime BBM users may now abandon BlackBerry devices knowing they can still maintain their BBM accounts on other mobile phones, but said "We don't feel like that is a risk. Obviously, if we did, we might have acted differently."
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