BlackBerry Messenger service will be available to owners of Android-and iOS-devices. This summer BlackBerry (former Research In Motion Company) is planning to release this free application for both platforms as the chief executive officer Thorsten Heins claimed.
“It is time to make BBM available to a wider audience. It does not matter what device people use,” – he said.
BlackBerry plans to offer Android (4.0 and higher) and iOS (6.0 and above) users the full functionality of BBM, but not immediately. In the first phase only feature instant messaging and group chat will be available. Then, such functions as voice services, remote access to the screen and Channels will be added. Channels function is analogous to Twitter – users can create a “channel” and other users can subscribe to it.
“People have waited for it for many years – said Andrew Bocking, executive vice president of BlackBerry who manages the development of software products and the ecosystem. – Now it is high time. We see growing interest in other instant messengers. We believe that BBM offers the best opportunities in the market, so we decided to make it available for other platforms to meet the needs of consumers. “
BlackBerry Messenger is one of the key features of the BlackBerry smartphones. Until now, the service was available exclusively to BB users. The same status Apple’s iMessage service keeps, allowing the exchange of instant messages and pictures only to iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Mac users. Samsung which in the Ist quarter of 2013 took 31% of the global smartphone market, also has its own service – ChatON. It is a cross-platform system.
However, supposingly BlackBerry decision was dictated by the growing competition in the field of instant messaging services such as Kik and WhatsApp. The number of Kik users increases by 200 thousand people a day, while the subscriber base of WhatsApp users exceeds Twitter’s one in the number.
“It’s no secret that the messaging application is the most important application on the mobile market. And if you do not participate in this game, you can quickly become an outsider,” – said Ted Livingston, General Director of Kik cross-platform messenger.
Despite the explanations of BlackBerry, The Verge called the rejection of BBM exclusivity to be “desperation.” A telecommunications analyst at Ovum Jan Dawson believes that it is a necessary step because the BlackBerry is losing user base. According to official data, today BBM base counts about 60 million people, but in the last quarter, the number of people who use BlackBerry smartphones reduced by 3 million.
The company added that more than 51 million people use BBM 90 minutes a day on average. And all together users send and receive more than 10 billion messages a day, while almost half of them is read by over 20 seconds after they are received.