Wednesday, May 15, 2013

BlackBerry expands Messenger to iOS, Android devices

BlackBerry has announced plans to expand its Messenger software to iOS and Android devices from August this year.

BBM will be available for devices running iOS6 or Android 4.0 and higher and comes with the same messaging features, including multi-person chats, the ability to share photos and voice notes and BBM Groups. iOS and Android users will be able to add their contacts through PIN, email, SMS or QR code scan, regardless of platform. Android users will also be able to connect using a NFC device.

BBM has more than 60 million monthly active customers, with more than 51 million people using BBM an average of 90 minutes per day, according to the company. BlackBery claims that BBM users send and receive more than 10 billion messages each day, nearly twice as many as other mobile messaging apps.

BlackBerry also announced BBM Channels, a new marketing platform within BBM that will allow customers to sign up to receive information from businesses, brands, celebrities and groups they are interested in. They can also engage with the channel, sharing information through comments or 'liking' posts. The Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One team was the first such channel to be announced.

The Channels service is currently in beta for phones running BlackBerry 5.1-7 or 10. BlackBerry plans to add support for BBM Channels as well as voice and video chatting for iOS and Android later this year. If approved by Apple and Google, the BBM app will be available as a free download.