On Tuesday BlackBerry announced plans to make its mobile social network, BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), available to iOS and Android users come this summer, with support planned for iOS6, and Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) or higher, all subject of course to approval by the Apple App Store and Google Play – although Apple would be foolish to disallow it.
BBM sets a high standard for mobile instant messaging with a fast, reliable, engaging experience that attracts race reviews from users and includes delivered and read statuses, personalized profiles and avatars. Upon release, BBM customers would be able to broaden their connections to include friends, family and colleagues on other mobile platforms than the BlackBerry.
In the planned initial release, iOS and Android users would be able to experience the immediacy of BBM chats, including multi-person chats, as well as the ability to share photos and voice notes, and engage in BBM Groups, which allows BBM customers to create groups of up to 30 people.
For BlackBerry, messaging and collaboration are inseparable from the mobile experience, and the time is definitely right for BBM to become a multi-platform mobile service. BBM has always been one of the most engaging services for BlackBerry customers, enabling them to easily connect while maintaining a valued level of personal privacy. We’re excited to offer iOS and Android users the possibility to join the BBM community,” said Andrew Bocking, Executive Vice President, Software Product Management and Ecosystem, at BlackBerry, in a release.
BBM is admired by customers for its “D” and “R” statuses, which show up in chats to let people know with certainty that their message has been delivered and read. It also provides customers with a high level of control and privacy over who they add to their contact list, and how they engage with them, since invites are two-way opt-in. With BBM access, iOS and Android users would be able to add their contacts through PIN, email, SMS or QR code scan, regardless of platform. Android users would also be able to connect using a compatible NFC-capable device.
BBM currently has more than 60 million monthly active customers, with more than 51 million people using BBM an average of 90 minutes per day. BBM customers collectively send and receive more than 10 billion messages daily, nearly twice as many messages per user per day as compared to other mobile messaging apps. Almost half of BBM messages are read within 20 seconds of being received; an indication of how truly engaged BBM customers are.
BlackBerry also announced BBM Channels, a new social engagement platform within BBM that will allow customers to connect with the businesses, brands, celebrities and groups they are passionate about. BlackBerry plans to add support for BBM Channels as well as voice and video chatting for iOS and Android later this year, subject again to approval by the Apple App Store and Google Play.
If approved by Apple and Google, the BBM app will be available as a free download in the Apple App Store and Google Play store.
Additional details about system requirements and availability will be announced closer to the launch.
Founded in 1984 and based in Waterloo, Ontario, BlackBerry operates offices in North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America.
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