BlackBerry to launch BBM on iOS and Android; no word on Windows Phone

Today BlackBerry held its annual BlackBerry Live developers event, where the company had quite a few big announcements to make. Perhaps the biggest one was that its BBM online messaging service would soon be open for the first time to non-BlackBerry devices.

In a press release, BlackBerry revealed that sometime later this year, apps for iOS and Android will be released that will allow users to connect to BBM, which the company said already has over 60 million monthly active customers. The press release stated:

In the planned initial release, iOS and Android users would be able to experience the immediacy of BBM chats, including multi-person chats, as well as the ability to share photos and voice notes, and engage in BBM Groups, which allows BBM customers to create groups of up to 30 people.

A specific launch date for the iOS and Android BBM apps was not announced but they should be made available sometime later this summer. BlackBerry made no mention of offering Windows Phone owners a similar BBM app and we have contacted the company for more information on this front. Ironically, Microsoft today announced that it has launched a Skype app for BlackBerry 10, designed for the company's Z10 handset.

The news about BBM was just one component of BlackBerry's announcements today, which also included details of an all new smartphone, the BlackBerry Q5. The device, which features a 3.5 inch screen and a QWERTY keyboard, is designed to be a cheaper smartphone for emerging markets. Pricing and availability details were not revealed.

Source: BlackBerry | Image via BlackBerry

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Everyone that has BBM now will tell their Android and iOS friends to download the app. It'll spread like wildfire but from what I've read, BBM Voice won't be available right away. It would make sense to reserve a feature like that for those that have BlackBerry devices. And if not, then it will compete with WhatsApp and Kik.

What's the business plan / model here? how does this benefit BB? Now BB owners have no excuse for not getting and Iphone or Droid.

they may have just expedited their own death.

This has always annoyed me. People are like "here's my BBM pin", or "hey what's your BB pin?", and I've felt left out.

I understand that BBM was and still is a significant selling point of BlackBerry, but I think cross-platform messaging is much better.

I want to be able to buy any new device and carry on chatting with people like I did with my old one.

There's all kinds of other cross-platform messaging apps out there now, so having BBM on Android and iOS won't be anything exciting, but I guess it's handy to be able to chat to those 4 BlackBerry users somewhere...

When you start putting your software on other people's hardware, that means your own hardware business is pretty much gone.

RIP Blackberry.

true, true..

this has to be their plan b, or even plan c, maybe even plan z...

their should have done it a long time ago, but they did not want to. now they are doing it only due to desperation!

this is a double edged sword. On one hand this gives incentive to people still clinging to their old blackberry to switch to a different phone. this cant be good for blackberry sales. But on the other hand, you get people using BBM from other platforms,it might translate to blackberry sales. the latter is a harder task to accomplish though.

They probably hope that it becomes really popular on iOS and Android and dedicated users will then seek a Blackberry device with more features, operating system integration and so on. This move might have worked well in 2010 when there was less competition. Or it may help retain Blackberry customers who like Blackberry devices but up to now couldn't use BBM with a lot of their friends with other devices.

BBM was the only reason lots of people got Blackberry's, I hope they are going to charge like Whatsapp to make up for the reduction in phone sales.

Fighting for third place with WP right now, no surprise that WP is left out (or could be the std market share issue).

Bern@rd said,
That's okay, we'll continue giving BlackBerry a crappy Skype in return.

Not at all, Skype IM needs to be modernised and function more intelligently like whatsapps, automatically linking people through the phonebook. I suspect the only reason they have not done this is not to further enrage the Carriers.

Actually MAC's are not a dead horse they are in in every network adapter sold. Mac's on the other hand still take up less than 10%

Bern@rd said,
MACs *are* a dead horse. Still take up less than 10% of computer market share.

They serve a certain purpose/market. They are still making profit which is where it counts.

Bern@rd said,
Yep, they're a hobby, like model trains or candlemaking.

If the Mac division was spun off, it make the Fortune 500 and almost crack the top 100. Does that still make it a hobby, or are you just saying that because of the logo on it?

Windows Phone even though has minor marketshare compared to ios and android in the USA and larger marketshare in the rest of the world is the fastest growing mobile platform out there. You are just being foolish and just saying crap without any proof of anything. I would imagine they announced for ios and android because its a fairly easy port and they can rake in some much need cash if anyone at this point is interested in BBM. If they made a Windows Phone version if would have to be made from scratch and lots of cash.

Bern@rd said,
MACs *are* a dead horse. Still take up less than 10% of computer market share.

It's hard to take someone serious who doesn't seem to know the difference between a Mac and MAC.