BBM for Android and iOS launching this Summer, will be free

Ian Hardy

May 14, 2013 11:15 am

bbmiosandroid
A long time rumour – dating back to March of 2011 – has finally been realized.

BlackBerry will finally bring their very popular BlackBerry Messager (BBM) to both iOS and Android. During the keynote presentation, CEO Thorsten Heins stated this will be available for free for devices running iOS 6 and Android Ice Cream Sandwich (OS 4.0) or higher.

In addition, BBM for iOS and Android will be available this summer, but are “subject to approval by Google Play and the Apple App Store.” For iOS and Android users, the BBM app will be limited to simply messaging and groups, but will be updated “later on” to have BBM Voice, screen share, and the new BBM Channels that was introduced today.

BBM currently has over 60 million active users who send and receive over 10 billion daily messages.

  • Chris MacIsaac

    Have they indicated if there is a cost associated with this service?

    • r0v3rT3N

      Yes, free.

    • Chris MacIsaac

      Nice, they’re banking on BB10 to be future of BB for sure. Would you expect an OS update to compliment this release?

    • r0v3rT3N

      10.1 was released for the Z10 today.
      Already rolling out in many countries.

    • Andy

      Smart choice because the text-only will be free. Additional features such as BBM voice, screen sharing, and other enhancements will cost a sub.

    • Bongus

      first sign of throwing in the flag.
      BB is done.

    • FuzzyFish6

      That’s usually the case for trolls.

    • Jimbo

      Sure it does if you ‘think’ about it. More importantly for blackberry though, is it allows (or helps ease the burden) current BBRY users to get more life out of their devices, if only for communicating. This should slow the bleed of userbase somewhat.

  • Martin Chan

    Finally! I can add my buddies again! So, does this mean carriers should just abolish SMS? Jokes.
    I don’t think there’s an extra cost for BBServer on the Z, but the old ones did at an extra price on some carriers. Not mine though, no charge BBServer.

  • Joe Shmo

    Expect a “Blackberry BBM” fee from your carrier. They won’t easily give up their SMS income

    • Claude Gohier

      It’s called a Data Plan.

    • ToniCipriani

      Bell still requires you to have a “BlackBerry Data Plan” if you get a BB10 device, even when BB themselves say you don’t need one.

    • Ray

      no, bell just requires you to get a “data plan”..it’s not blackberry specific

    • Rob Blaich

      I don’t understand this comment. I’m not receiving any extra fees when using Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp. Whenever Google Babel (or Hangout) comes out there won’t be any extra fees either. I don’t see why BBM would have any.

    • BlackBerryBlink

      They won’t.. that’s why it says its free

    • Mathieu

      BBM is not the 1st SMS-replacement service … haven’t you heard about Facebook Messenger, Google Talk, Whatsapp, iMessage… should I continue?

    • johentie

      have u used their groups feature? it blows any of those out of the water.. along with calendar integration for groups, lists, tasks, picture sharing in groups.. video conference, voice, Screen share….

    • Pier-Alexandre

      Google Babel which will be released tomorrow at Google I/0 is exactly that, it is a mix of google talk, google + messenger, and google Hangout. Google voice might also be included. So I believe BB are a little to late. Could you imagine if they had decided to bank on the succes of BBM a few years ago, everybody with an iPhone or android would be using BBM to stay in touch with their BB friends because back then everybody had a BB. I don’t think any of my friends has a BB anymore. However many of my friends either have an Android or used google services so I guess we’ll be using Google Babel…

    • FuzzyFish6

      Serious question.

      Do many people use GTalk?

    • Pier-Alexandre

      My friends and I used Hangout all the time. This is honestly the best videochat platform.

    • FuzzyFish6

      GTalk isn’t Hangout though, or is it?

    • anjew

      i myself use it a lot and so do a lot of my friends especially with msn merging with skype.

      i dont know why you were failed for your questions but i upvoted just to even it up.

    • Pier-Alexandre

      however bbm will only allow messages and group messages.

    • Jimbo

      And apple has had group chat, file sharing, and FaceTime video within iMessage for how many years now? All for free with fallback to SMS/MMS. Other than screen sharing which I have yet to see anyone come up with a meaningful purpose for (especially with its degraded image quality), what does BBM offer that hasn’t already been done?

  • kid_jenius

    they need to get the app on windows phone!

    • RS

      ^ lol sorry for laughing.

    • kid_jenius

      huh? Are you 5 years old? Yes, windows phone has a small marketshare compared to iOS and android, but it’s the third most prominent ecosystem and recent reports show that its marketshare is growing. It isn’t a pipe dream to have this app developed for windows phone.

    • HiKsFiles

      This is precisely the reason why they should NOT release it for Windows Phones! It’s the first competitor they need to take care of, then possibly iOS and Android. So give the big ones some candy and let the poor starve even more. ;)

    • Jimbo

      Check your facts dude. I’m no win phone fan, but they are rising in all their key markets while BBRY is in decline.

    • Guest

      old BB 7 phones are skewing that ‘FACT’

    • iPlunks

      you’re completly wrong. I guess you also count BBOS 7 phones and before into how much they really have right?

    • Jimbo

      Don’t worry. He’ll clue in one day. Or not…

    • Mr. Miyagi

      You made me log in just to down vote your comment… It’s because of closed minded people like you that good stuff never takes off.

    • RS

      relax guys, I think you’re taking tech news a little too personal.

      I was simply pointing out the humour in the situation. I like alot of things about windows phones. If this gets you that worked up, I’d hate to see how you deal with real life situations. #yosamitysam

  • Patrick Serrano

    well that’s going to be a cool multiplatform app :)

    • anjew

      i really hope so… BBM has some amazing features that would blow competitors like whatsapp, facebook messenger away

  • MarcusJ

    That has the potential to wipeout Whatsapp, KIK, etc.. This will be very interesting to see play out. Why not sell for $.99, either way it will likely be the quickest/greatest downloaded product on any app store.

    • David Etienne

      Because that would be a good business decision, a concept that completely eludes Thorsten Heins.

    • FuzzyFish6

      If you want to drive adoption rate for a messaging platform like BBM, charging for it isn’t a good idea.

    • Jimbo

      And you honestly believe that somehow this move is going to help people switch? It will do the exact opposite from what I’m seeing.

    • FuzzyFish6

      This is about mindshare and marketing. People don’t buy BlackBerry because of BBM anymore.

    • Jimbo

      And what exactly is it that they buy it for that “isn’t” available elsewhere? It would have to be pretty compelling no?

    • FuzzyFish6

      Experience and efficiency of the OS for now. Moving around and navigating the UI is a joy on BB10.

      Then connectivity later on, BlackBerry is big on the M2M movement.

    • Jimbo

      Not compelling enough. The UI is sluggish. It’s a mash of copied elements from iOS to android to webos, and nothing a new launcher for android or jailbreaking tweaks for ios couldn’t emulate if so desired. That’s all semantics and personal preference.
      The problem is there are no apps, a significant lack of cross platform sharing options or desktop/server interop, less than stellar hardware (2 year old SoC’s and display tech), poor battery life outside the q10, etc.
      But I’m not here to argue. Everyone has their likes and dislikes. Just don’t bolster them up on a pedestal they don’t deserve nor qualify to be placed upon.

    • FuzzyFish6

      That’s your opinion and that’s cool. I’m sure many of what you value won’t be attractive to a ton of people neither.

      My question is, how did you think I was putting them on a pedestal lol.
      You’re obviously here to argue and bait a response so you can spit out your opinion. This article and response is about BBM going cross platform, how you somehow want to change it to be about your own feelings about the platform and product is beyond me.

      BTW, UI is sluggish? You sue you used a bb10 phone before lol?

    • Jerry

      I have and it is kinda clunky. Especially the transition to the hub. Even going from screen to screen of icons is meh. You don’t see that?

    • FuzzyFish6

      Bizarre, I really don’t Jerry. Mine is buttery smooth. :/

    • Tminusg

      Until google releases a sms service that integrates into cellular sms cross platform like imessage….?

    • Pier-Alexandre

      You mean tomorrow at Google I/O. BB will be late to the party again this summer. I hope they won’t delay it as they did with BB10

    • anjew

      i hope they expand gtalk

  • vn33

    They should have done this two years ago !
    I’ve been using WhatsApp on my Android, and have many friends who also are using it, even on BB.
    Is there any advantages to using BBM, or a compelling reason to start using it now ?

    • FuzzyFish6

      Read notifications, speed, reliability, privacy, FREE.

      Whatsapp works good enough, but compare to BBM it’s really no contest. BBM is really really solid.

    • Jimbo

      Huh? Lol. Ya ok porch monkey.

    • Jimbo

      Wrong sportsfan.

    • iPlunks

      what makes you think it is not a stripped down version of BBM?

    • anjew

      not to mention security….. i hope they kept that.

  • David Etienne

    I’m wondering what happens when you get a new iPhone or Galaxy…. do you still have to obnoxiously ask everyone to send you their BBM pins again?

    • Lincoln

      No. BBM now uses a Blackberry ID login. When I went from my curve to my Z10, I only had to log in with my BBID and all of my contacts and groups showed up.

    • David Etienne

      Wow, they actually moved to device-agnostic login system? I thought I would never see the day…

    • Lincoln

      It’s been a while now. They started integrating BBID across everything at least a year ago.

      And yes, they were a bit behind on it.

    • David Etienne

      If it was a year ago, my friends using BBM didn’t hear about it… I still get updates on Facebook “LOST MY PHONE NEED ALL YOUR NUMBERS BBMS FACSIMILES ETC”. It’s such a chore.

    • DroidBoy7

      No hate – but that’s probably from lack of awareness of back ups and BlackBerry Protect.

    • Lincoln

      I was just referring to BBM.

      Blackberry doesn’t sync contacts to their own servers as part of their BBID. However, I’ve had my contacts synced to Google for a long time on my phones.

      It sounds like your friends don’t know how to back up their phones. I have them, too ;)

    • David Etienne

      Seems like such an obvious thing to make default, no? The whole point of BBM is staying in contact with people. If you lose all your contacts, the service is worthless to you. It would make sense to immediately start backing up everything as soon as you set up the device. Opt-in is a bad idea in this case

    • Lincoln

      Blackberry doesn’t have their own service for contact sync. When you set up your email accounts, you can sync it with any EAS server or through CardDAV. With BB10, it is more obvious that you can sync contacts.

      Should they run a server to sync contacts? Possibly, but they may take my view: there are many places where you can sync your contacts already. Also, businesses probably don’t want their employees contacts synced to a location that they don’t control.

  • DroidBoy7

    BlackBerry is making a horrendous mistake by opening up BBM to iOS and Android. BBM is such a big selling point for their devices, and by opening their IM client to be cross platform will take away from the uniqueness of their device. When I moved to Android, one of the biggest things that held me back for a while was the loss of BBM; don’t get me wrong, I’m excited that I’m getting it back, but I still don’t believe this is the right business decision for a company that has just come out of a dangerous time.

    • Craig Pakkala

      It’s not a mistake. BBM will soon be the largest messenger service for any smartphone. I don’t have a blackberry but I will be downloading this Android app so I can chat with my friends who are stuck on BB. IOS users will be doing the same thing.

      This is the smartest move they can possibly make, they should have charged for it though …. they’d make a killing.

    • DroidBoy7

      That’s my point though. What other reason would anyone have to move to BlackBerry. Although QNX is pretty slick I’d definitely consider a move back if I wasn’t in love with my phone. Yeah people would have paid.

      What I’m trying to say is, as far as consumers are concerned, why would I go for a BlackBerry if I could go for an Android with BBM?

    • Marcus Muchura

      2 years ago you could say the overwhelming majority of people bought their Blackberries for BBM. At this point in 2013, nobody BUYS a Blackberry for the single purpose of BBM (at least not a significant amount of people). This is giving people who ALREADY have a Blackberry, more reason to stay, and people who buy Blackberries for other reasons (the keyboard, OS, etc.)

    • FuzzyFish6

      Ding ding ding, we have a winner. This cross platform BBM thing is all about mindshare and marketing.

      Very VERY good move.

    • Jimbo

      Well they sure aren’t buying them for the app ecosystem, support, encryption, or anything else that isn’t already offered by everyone else…

    • DroidBoy7

      It’s a big party of the loyalty bud.

    • Jimbo

      Really? Do tell oh wise one what they are buying them for. And please don’t include items that are readily available on other platforms. Especially the services that are far superior…

    • anjew

      actually they did at one point…. not looking like it now.

    • rd0t

      In the short term it is a questionable move, but you have to think about the big picture here. BBM is no longer a key selling feature or a reason why BB users are still using their devices. A lot of BB users that have jumped ship get what they need out of apps like Whatsapp. The people who still buy BB devices are people who want a great emailing client, the best in class QWERTY keyboard, and one of the best new OS’s around. Not only will this help BB increase exposure to iPhone and Android users, but it’ll also allow them to take a huge chunk of market share away from apps like Whatsapp and Skype. That’ll allow for the perfect foundation for even more products and services in the future with an increasing user base.

    • FuzzyFish6

      Who really knows about Babel or whatever’s it’ll be called. But it is a major improvement on Whatsapp, Kik, Skype and iMessage.

      People who have never used BBM have no idea right now what a massive move this is.

    • Jimbo

      This won’t take a bite out of much of anything. What it will do is “finally” allow a cross-platform means of instant communications amongst different phone/software vendors. Something that has already been present for the major players for years now. It should help slow the bleed of userbase from BBRY, and allow those still on the platform to communicate without getting dinged for SMS fees. It’s a wonder why none of the third party vendors bothered to address this issue sometime ago?

  • rmonster

    Actually, this makes me much more likely to consider a BlackBerry…if they ever get the rest of their app ecosystem together. I like the design, and I like that they’re trying new things with their OS interaction. It’s a tempting system, but the lack of inter-communication with my friends would’ve been a big deal. Most of my friends are iOS users too, so we iMessage a lot. And I HATE WhatsApp. God, it’s so terrible and slow. :/

    • BlackBerryBlink

      it is awful… WhatsApp I mean… at first I wasn’t for BBM being cross platform but now I think it’s awesome. I can’t wait to have one medium to talk to all my friends.

    • Jimbo

      And their in lies the problem. Getting the rest of their act together. How long are people going to wait for apps to come? Without them, new BBRY is the same as old BBRY, but perhaps with less battery pulls.

  • TomsDisqusted

    “In addition, BBM for iOS and Android will be available this summer, but are “subject to approval by Google Play and the Apple App Store.”

    So it’s coming to Android and maybe iOS. BBM competes with a built-in Apple service (iMessage) so technically it should not get approved.

  • Omis

    Coming this summer? Translation: Next year sometime…. when it’s done.

    • Jimbo

      If you count the several times he pushed back timelines, then yes. Lol. Not looking too bright with the responses there bud.

    • anjew

      comparable to all the other vendors.

  • sicsicpuppy

    No biggie , I don’t know anyone using BBM

  • Manbo

    I’m confused… wouldn’t this be considered shooting themselves in the foot? A lot of people stick with BB for BBM only, so by making it available for free on other OS’… uuuurrrrrrhhhhmmmmm…. *scratches head*

  • thatcrazyone

    I love it! been saying they need to do this for a loooooong time :) make it so BB users can talk to other devices makes BB more appealing to those whole love BB already.

  • nekkidtruth

    It’s about time. We could debate back and forth all day on the reasons for and against this but ultimately, this was a smart move. A little late…but smart.

  • S2556

    At first I was really excited but with all the news of google babel will this just be a thinned out version of it? I will most likely use it but not as much as I would have a year ago

  • johentie

    i think it’ll help people stay.. instead of having whatsapp and BBM now they just have to have BBM… in order to talk their friends on other OS’ they don’t need to leave BB to do it..

    • Jimbo

      Agreed. It will help slow the bleed.

  • Jimbo

    Well this is interesting news… I had three friends that were seriously debating on sticking with BBRY phones due to BBM and the contact base they have. Now after this news none of them have a reason to be held back anymore, and they are finally going to upgrade to real phones! Best of both worlds, yay!

    • anjew

      or they can use the new bb10 phones that are real phones also…..

  • hardy83

    Interesting to say the least.

    I see this as a boon for BBM, though I find it odd they aren’t charging, but it gets people into the BBM system. Like how Apple locks you into Itunes ecosystem. This might get people to move to BB on their next phone.

    • Jimbo

      And lose everything they’ve obtained platform and app wise? Not likely.

  • Jimbo

    Possible on android but not iOS. Ads are extremely limited in their visibility and frequency.

  • Xaxxus

    This is the best and worst thing they can do. Its amazing because now people who have blackberries will have more than 5 contacts in their BBM.

    But its bad because now the only reason to buy a blackberry is on every other device (sans windows phone).

    I can however see this helping kick windows phone out of third place.

  • Jerry

    Wow! now I can message to all my friends who are on BBM!

    I mean friend.

    I mean my dad.

    On his work-only phone.

    • Mindmeld

      Zing! +1.

  • Thomas C. Riddell

    this great for us former black berry owners I was never going back to black berry cause of the lack of apps BBM was only thing I liked about Blackberry was BBM now I can keep my Android OS and be happy to BBM again

  • Julius

    This is a little strange…wasn’t one of the main reason or rather the main PROs that all BB users harp about is how they have BBM and would never leave because of this? So now this allows said BBM users to easily leave BB and move to android or iOS and still maintaining their entire contact list? There is a reason why Apple is exclusive with their Apps…cause its not apps that they have to gain from its the Ecosystem that everyone is after.

    • Mindmeld

      I’m sure there’s a catch. Lean version of the full-fledged BBM? Need to create a BlackBerry ID which will allow advertisment or push ad email? The BBM app may be free but I’m sure BlackBerry has different ways to monetize the service for non-BB subscribers. Nothing in this world is free, nothing.

  • Rook Chen

    LOL WHO CARES.

    • Mindmeld

      Lol, you do. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have commented!

    • TheDoctor

      Dude, give it a rest already. Your discus profile shows you clearly drink the blackberry kook aid (see what i did there?) and pray for them every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and twice on Saturday for them.

      Look, everyone is entitled to their opinion and voice. I signed up here specifically to say that a lot of you need better hobbies and quite possibly a girlfriend. Salivating over a piece of technology like a phone to the extremes some of you do must involve some sort of psychological impairment. Relax, breathe, leave the internets alone for an hour and go outside and get some fresh air. Sheesh.

    • Mindmeld

      Why does it bother you? Am I worse than someone who posts “who cares” but takes the time to read and make a comment? Relax, man. If Rook is entitled, so am I. Or you don’t think so because I happen to personally like Blackberry and you don’t (making an assumption here). BTW, I didn’t look at your past posts but I have a feeling I know which way you lean. Cheers.

  • Mathieu

    Facebook Messenger does voice (in some country) .
    Google Talk has been doing voice & video on Android since the 2010.
    iMessage has FaceTime for voice & video.

    … and how GTalk has become Hangout with cross platform text+video (voice = video + mute image) for Windows/Mac/Linux/Android/iOS … thus covering 99% of the market (sorry BB & WP, you’re not a relevant platform … yet?)