Blackberry launches BBM for Android and iOS

Blackberry has announced it will be launching its Blackberry Messenger (BBM) app for Android and iOS devices.

Blackberry has said It will offer texts, photo messages and group sharing functions on Android and iOS devices ‘from the summer’.

The latest move comes as figures show that instant messaging and chat apps are taking over texting. It is hoped the launch will disrupt rivals such as Skype and Whatsapp who also focus on free chat messaging services.

Blackberry chief executive Thorsten Heins revealed the news at the end of his presentation at the firm’s annual developer’s conference in Orlando, Florida.

Mr Heins said: “You might ask the question why is Blackberry doing this now,”

“It’s a statement of confidence. The Blackberry 10 platform is so strong and the response has been so good that we are confident the time is right for Blackberry Messenger to become an independent multiplatform messaging solution.”

The company also said that more than 60 million Blackberry owners already used BBM at least once a month.

Chris Green, technology analyst at Davies Murphy Group Europe said: “BBM has been a significant traffic driver for Blackberry – particularly the consumer audience.

“Expanding it to be multiplatform not only widens the consumer appeal but also may help woo back corporate customers it lost due to earlier technical problems.

“However, other players like Whatsapp will only drop their fees if they see BBM making major inroads into other platforms.”

Ben Wood, of telecoms consultancy CCS Insight added that Blackberry may have felt pressure in this area due to the growing popularity of cross-platform alternatives such as Whatsapp and Facebook’s Messenger service.

“It will increase feature competition among mobile messaging platforms,” he said.

“It dramatically increases BBM’s long-term relevance – but it is unclear how Blackberry will ensure the move benefits its own hardware sales.”

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