BBM CHAT FOR ANDROID AND IPHONE TO LAUNCH THIS WEEKEND
By: Gift Nyamapfene
Blackberry will finally release its Blackberry Messenger (BBM) chat application for the iPhone and Android this weekend.
BBM for Android will get a release date on 21 September and will come to Apple iPhone on 22 September.
In a post titled “BBM for all”, on the mobile maker’s website, Blackberry said that BBM “will be available as a free download in Google Play and the App store”.
The development comes after years of confining the particularly exclusive messaging system to its mobile phones. Blackberry’s website reported that the application will function similarly as it does on Blackberry phones currently.
Every BBM user will have a unique pin that maintains their privacy. The application will allow users with mobile access to Internet to send instant messages without using up text messages.
In a recent press release, Executive Vice President for BBM at Blackberry, Andrew Bocking 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.”
Blackberry is looking to overtake the likes of WhatsApp messenger application, which reportedly has 300 million users to date. The phone maker is currently attempting to rebrand its instant messaging application into a broad platform for social networking.
BBM for iPhone and Android will initially include chat, photo and voice note sharing, multi-user chats of up to 30 users and the ability to post status updates and personal messages.
The company’s latest move comes amid reports that its phones are struggling to sell. Blackberry suffered a loss of more than $600 million (R5.8 billion) last year.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that Blackberry was planning to downsize its workforce by 40% by the end of 2013.
The Journal also reported last month that the company’s board was pondering business alternatives for the company by November, including a possible sale.