BBM logoAfter much speculation in the last few weeks, BBM the Blackberry Messenger will arrive over the weekend for Android and iOS devices. Blackberry (previously RIM) have been struggling in the last few years with their operating system and devices, however this launch could be big for them.

 

UPDATE: After only a few hours Blackberry pulled the roll out plan and disabled the app. No reason was given at the time.

Previously the BBM messenger was exclusive to Blackberry devices but their very popular, and secure, messaging services now offers a massive cross-platform opportunity for everyone. There are already a number of excellent alternatives but as yet no single messaging services has truly succeeded in capturing a significant percentage of each platform. Blackberry believe BBM could do this. The application runs in the background and offers free one-on-one messaging; group chat; file sharing for photo, video and voice messages. Files can be a maximum of 6MB, text messages 2,000 characters. You will know when the message has been delivered and also if it has been read. As with a native Blackberry device, BBM will include a unique PIN for added privacy -- you can provide this number to others, rather than give out your mobile number. Andrew Bocking, Executive Vice President for BBM at BlackBerry said:

With more than a billion Android, iOS, and BlackBerry smartphones in the market, and no dominant mobile instant messaging platform, this is absolutely the right time to bring BBM to Android and iPhone customers.

BBM will be free and available for Android from noon (UK time) on Saturday September 21. The iPhone version will arrive in the App Store on Sunday morning. Video and Voice calling are not supported in BBM but are promised for the future. The official press release discusses Android and iPhones; there is no mention of tablet devices. Blackberry could have missed a trick if BBM only works on phones, especially as the app simply requires a data connection and no other phone service. Having the ability to use your tablet and/or phone for messaging is key to future instant messaging tools. What do you think? Are they too late? Is there room for another messaging service? Further reading: Spot the fake BBM apps

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