BlackBerry’s exclusive messaging service has always been one of the key selling points of the company’s proprietary system since its introduction in 2006. With the announcement, BlackBerry is making history by releasing no less than its strongest offering outside the BB platform, and in doing so brings the service to millions of potential users.
The BlackBerry CEO owes the decision to a “state of confidence” with the company’s latest BB10 platform amid positive feedback from users. “Response [to BB10] has been so good that the time is right for BBM to become and independent mobile messaging platform,” Heins exclaimed. The company intends to release the BlackBerry Messenger as a free standalone app for both Android and iOS, requiring at least Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) or iOS6 to run.
According to Heins, the first release of the BlackBerry Messenger for Android and iOS will only sport the essential messaging and group features of the app. While it may seem limited, BlackBerry plans to eventually integrate other key features of BBM over time, Heins adds. Features such as screen sharing and BBM voice are just some of the planned rollouts, and will even include the newly-announced BBM channels, also introduced during the BlackBerry Live event. BBM channels have similar functionalities as Twitter, but fully integrated with BlackBerry Messaging.
The announcement was a bold, uncharacteristic move on BlackBerry’s part, albeit a strong step forward for the Canada-based company struggling to stay in the smartphone game. Rather on wasting resources and energy on waging a losing war with mobile titans Apple and Samsung for a decent share of the mobile market, BlackBerry chose to turn their focus towards software strengths. “We are making the BBM platform more powerful than ever,” Heins stated. By opening up the BlackBerry market for Android and iOS integration, Heins aims to expand market exposure of the company’s strong points. Shedding its closed company policy and opting to build new partnerships with the current industry leaders, BlackBerry has in turn opened up a vista of opportunities that can work highly in its favour.
BlackBerry, formerly known as Research In Motion (RIM), is the maker of BlackBerry brand smartphones and tablets. BlackBerry mobile devices including its premier-class smartphone, the Z10 run on the company’s proprietary, QNX-based BB10 mobile operating system.
Visit http://us.blackberry.com/bbm.html to find out when BBM will be released for Android and iOS.