One of BlackBerry’s core apps, BlackBerry Messenger or BBM is coming to iOS and Android. BlackBerry recently confirmed this, which would make the popular instant messaging app available on multiple platforms. BBM used to be exclusive to BlackBerry devices and is actually one of the reasons a lot of people are still using BlackBerry. BBM is said to have more than 60 million monthly active customers, with more than 51 million people using BBM an average of 90 minutes per day.
BBM will be compatible with iOS6 and Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) or higher but this is still subject to approval by the Apple App Store and Google Play. The BBM app will be available as a free download in the Apple App Store and Google Play store.
With BBM, iOS and Android users will be able to use BBM chat, including multi-person chats, as well as the ability to share photos and voice notes. Users can also create BBM Groups, which allows BBM users to create groups of up to 30 people. BlackBerry will add voice and video chatting for iOS and Android later this year. iOS and Android users will have the ability to add contacts through PIN, email, SMS or QR code scan. Users may also use NFC connectivity to add contacts in compatible Android devices.
Apart from announcing the availability of BBM on iOS and Android, BlackBerry also announced BBM Channels, a new platform within BBM that will lets users connect with businesses, brands, celebrities and groups.
The question for BlackBerry is the timing of the launch of BBM on iOS and Android. There was a lot of demand for the app to be available on platforms outside of BlackBerry but for a time, it looked like BBM would remain a BlackBerry exclusive. Its availability on other platforms is a welcome development but it may be too late since instant messaging apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Viber, Voxer and even iMessages on iOS devices have since become popular.