BBM to debut on Android, iOS this weekend

BlackBerry rolls out favoured app to other platforms

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BBM to debut on Android, iOS this weekend BBM has been one of the shining lights for BlackBerry amid falling interest in its handsets.
By  Stephen McBride Published  September 19, 2013

Struggling BlackBerry yesterday announced that its BBM instant messaging service will debut on Android and iOS devices over the next few days, online media reported today.

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Previously available only on BlackBerry's own devices, the BBM app has been the Canadian vendor's shining light. Recent reports of BlackBerry's attempts to attract buyers for its flagging business have included claims that interested parties are only prepared to acquire the OS, BBM and keyboard patents.

The app will be available for Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and later on 21 September and for iOS 6 and later on 22 September.

Android and iOS dominate the mobile operating system market, together accounting for 92.5% of handsets shipped, according to IDC's Q2 2013 figures. BlackBerry took just under 3% in the same period.

Such dwindling market share in platform and handsets led to BlackBerry's five-year decline and recent reports of a move to sell itself and plans for a 40% slash in its workforce. Prior to discussions of a sale, the company explored ways of monetising its services. With 60m monthly active users and a message send-receive total of 10bn, BBM was an obvious choice. The company's executive vice president of its BBM unit, Andrew Bocking believes the time is now right to roll out the app to a wider market.

"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," he said.

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BBM uses PIN authentication, which BlackBerry has long argued makes the system more secure than giving out a phone number or email address to a new contact.

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