BlackBerry announced on Monday at its 2013 BlackBerry Live keynote
address that it will finally be releasing it Blackberry Messenger (BBM)
for iPhone and Android over the summer.
Up until now, the popular BBM service has been exclusively available
only on BlackBerry-branded phones. The existing app allows users to
bypass calling, text-message and data charges by communicating using
text, photos, videos, and voice on WiFi, similar to other popular apps
such as iMessage and WhatsApp.
By offering this app as a cross-platform service, users of almost all
types of smartphones will be able to seamlessly communicate with each
“We’re committed to making the BBM experience on other platforms as fully featured as we can,” said BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins. “We’ll
start with messaging and groups, but we’ll add voice and screen share
later on. … BB10 is such a strong platform that we are confident it can
become an independent messaging solution.”
With that said, the app will only allow for messaging functions for
iPhone and Android. Heins has obviously alluded to potential updates,
but since the app is
targeted at the current iOS 6 and Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0), it’s
possible that the company is going to wait for phone OS upgrades.
Some say that Blackberry is behind the curve when it comes to this
release. Other WiFi-oriented messaging apps exist, and services like Viber already allow for VoIP calls. However, it’s possible that the name “Blackberry” alone will reel in users.
Will you use BlackBerry Messenger for your iPhone or Android smartphone? Do you think the company was late to the game?