BlackBerry Messenger is all set to go cross-platform
BlackBerry has announced plans to make its BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) platform available to Android and iOS users for the first time this summer.
BBM will be available as a free app through Google Play and the Apple App Store, subject to approval, with more details about system requirements released nearer the time.
The first version of the app will feature instant messaging, multi-person chats, voice note sharing and BlackBerry Groups which allow BBM users to share calendars, photos and files.
BlackBerry Messenger iPhone
“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,” said Andrew Bocking, executive vice president of software product management and ecosystem at BlackBerry. “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.”
BlackBerry Messenger was once one of the biggest selling points of the BlackBerry platform, but it is increasingly being challenged by rival platforms such as the cross-platform messaging service WhatsApp.
Its importance has also been reduced by the declining popularity of BlackBerry smartphones, but BBM still claims more than 60 million monthly active users with more than 50 million averaging an hour and a half hours of use every day.
Mobile instant messaging
These users send and receive more than 10 billion messages every day, more than any other messaging platform, with almost more than half read within 20 seconds.
BlackBerry will hope that its cross-platform approach will ensure BBM’s continuing popularity and allow it to take advantage of the growing use of mobile instant messaging services, which now account for more traffic than SMS.
An average of 19.1 billion messages were sent every day on over-the-top mobile messaging platforms in 2012, while it has been estimated that these services cost mobile operators £8.8 billion in lost SMS revenue during 2011.
Earlier today, BlackBerry announced the QWERTY-based BlackBerry Q5 smartphone which aims to attract a youthful audience to the BlackBerry 10 platform.
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