BlackBerry Messenger — the iconic mobile social network- on Saturday began rolling out for the Android and iPhone customers around the world.
Previously exclusive to BlackBerry smartphones, BBM has been made available as a free download in Google Play and the App StoreSM.
Customers would be able to download BBM by visiting www.BBM.com from their smartphone browser, said BlackBerry management.
The BBM gives you a private social network for active, real conversation. “Instant mobile to mobile messaging with privacy and control you can count on, that lets you know that your message is read, is a free download for Android and iPhone customers,” BlackBerry said, in an official statement.
It also stated, “BBM is always on, so you are always connected. And because messages on BBM are typically delivered and read within seconds, it’s the closest thing to a live conversation.
“BBM always tells you that messages are delivered and read. The BBM conversations come alive on a private network you can count on.
“You can control it, as it allows you to choose your contacts and how you share your information. BBM uses a PIN; so, you don’t have to give anyone your phone number or email address.”
The Executive Vice-President for BBM at BlackBerry, Mr. Andrew Bocking, was quoted as saying, “BBM is a very engaging messaging service that is simple to use, easy to personalise and has an immediacy that is necessary for mobile communications. With more than a billion Android, iOS, and BlackBerry smartphones in the market, and no dominant mobile messaging platform, this is absolutely the right time to bring BBM to Android and iPhone customers.
BBM Chat – Users enjoy real, immediate conversations with friends on Android, iPhone and BlackBerry smartphones. Not only does BBM let you know that your message has been delivered and read, it also shows you that your friend is responding to the message.
More than chat – With BBM you can share files on your phone such as photos and voice notes, all in an instant.
Keep your group in the loop – Multi-person chats are a great way to invite contacts to chat together.
BBM groups let you invite up to 30 friends to chat together, and go a step further than multi-chat by sharing photos and schedules. And, with Broadcast Message, you can send a message out to all your BBM contacts at once.
Post updates and stay in the know – BBM lets you post a personal message, profile picture and your current status, and lets your contacts know instantly in Updates.
Your unique PIN – Every BBM user has a unique PIN that maintains your privacy, so you don’t have to give out your phone number or email address to a new or casual contact.
The availability of BBM as a free download for Android smartphones took effect from September 21, while BBM for iPhones running iOS 6 and iOS 7 is available for each market on the App Store from September 22.
According to BlackBerry, BBM will continue to evolve quickly, as later this year, BBM Channels will provide a forum for active, real conversations between you and the people, brands, celebrities, artists, service providers, communities and more.
By creating a Channel, the firm said individuals and brands could engage their friends and communities in conversations sparked off by their thoughts, ideas and passions.
“Subscribing to a Channel will let you join conversations with people who share your interests. In addition, BBM Video calling and BBM Voice calling are planned for availability for Android and iPhone in a future version,” it added.
BBM has more than 60 million active customers monthly on BlackBerry alone, and the overwhelming majority use BBM an average of 90 minutes per day. BBM customers collectively send and receive more than 10 billion messages each day, nearly twice as many messages per user per day compared to other mobile messaging apps. Messages on BBM are typically read within seconds, reflecting how truly engaged BBM customers are.
A global leader in wireless innovation, BlackBerry revolutionised the mobile industry when it was introduced in 1999. Today, BlackBerry aims to inspire the success of millions of its customers around the world by continuously pushing the boundaries of mobile experiences.
Founded in 1984 and based in Waterloo, Ontario, BlackBerry operates offices in North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America; and is listed on the NASDAQ Stock Market and the Toronto Stock Exchange.
Speaking on the move, the Operations Manager, Telecom Channel, Mr. Olatunji Olajire, told our correspondent in a telephone interview that for BlackBerry, it is a good thing because it will help BlackBerry to gain momentum following its recent lag in the market performance.
“It is no news that BlackBerry, before now, had been losing its market share. This move, I think, is a good thing for the company, as it will make it more relevant,” he said.
He also described the move as part of the company’s strategies to engender market acceptance and performance.
Olajire noted the Android and iPhone would also benefit from the partnership as their customers would be able to achieve more using the same devices.
Also commenting on the development, the Chief Executive Officer, Potech Integrated Services Limited, a hi-tech firm, Mr. Philip Obin, described the move as a revolution.
According to him, this will create a huge market for low-earned Android phones, which are currently dominating the Nigerian smartphone market.
He said, “I see more Nigerians going for more cheap Android phones because of this BBM service. BlackBerry is likely to lose some of its market share in Africa to these Android phones because these Android phones are far cheaper. I also think BlackBerry may not want to release all its BBM features.
“No doubt, BlackBerry had done its calculation before embarking on the deal. I see the company making more money from this in the future. This may come in the form of subscription fee, which I think may be introduced after a while.”BlackBerry Messenger to boost sale of Android, iPhone by ngcareers