BlackBerry stunned the world, plus brought truth to years of rumours, when they announced their popular messaging service BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) would be coming to iOS and Android this Summer. The app will be free and is “subject to approval by Google Play and the Apple App Store.”
During his keynote presentation, Thorsten Heins, BlackBerry CEO, stated that “at launch we’ll support iPhones running iOS 6 or higher and Android devices running Ice Cream Sandwich or higher.”
This statement led to some questions about tablets. Vivek Bhardwaj, Head of the BlackBerry Software Portfolio, cleared up the air by saying BBM for tablets will not be in the cards at launch, but possibly later. “At this point it is iOS and Android, and that’s iOS phones running iOS 6 and higher. Smartphone is our real focus and again it comes back to what BBM is. If you look BBM and the engagement and the activity, it’s because it is mobile, because people are on the go.”
Tablets, such as the iPad and the pletora of Android tablets, are certainly mobile and probably something BlackBerry is holding in their back pocket when they release all the BBM features. When BBM for iPhone and Android smartphones becomes available, users will be limited to only messaging and groups. “Later on” BBM for iOS and Android will have BBM Voice, BBM screen share, and BBM Channels.
Heins capped off his BBM notes by proudly saying “I cannot wait for the day when all of our BlackBerry fans can send BBM invites to all their friends on other platforms. They’ve asked us for this for years. The time has come now for everyone to experience what we all know. BBM is simply the best messaging and collaboration platform in mobile today.”
There are over 60 million active BBM users around the world.