BlackBerry Ltd said on Wednesday that its popular BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) instant chat application will be available for rival devices using Google's Android and iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C around the world from September 21.
Previously exclusive to BlackBerry smartphones, BBM will be available as a free download in Google Play and the Apple's App Store. Customers will be able to download BBM by visiting www.bbm.com from their smartphone browser.
BBM will be available as a free download for Android smartphones running Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean (Android 4.x) beginning at 4.30 pm IST (7 am EDT) on September 21. BBM for iPhones running iOS 6 and iOS 7 will become available for each market on the App Store schedule of 12.01 am local time on September 22.
BBM will continue to evolve quickly. Later this year, BBM Channels will provide a forum for active, real conversations between you and the people, brands, celebrities, artists, service providers, communities and more, that matter to you. By creating a Channel, individuals and brands can engage their friends and communities in conversations sparked by their thoughts, ideas and passions. Subscribing to a Channel will let you join conversations with people who share your interests. In addition, BBM Video calling and BBM Voice calling are planned for availability for Android and iPhone in a future version.
The struggling Canadian smartphone maker had announced plans to open up the service, often referred to as BBM by both fans and the company, back in May.
Once a unique tool to send short messages without running up SMS charges, BBM now competes with mobile instant messaging products from Facebook, Apple and others, and less directly with the micro-blogging service Twitter.
“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,” said Andrew Bocking, Executive Vice President for BBM at BlackBerry.
BBM for Android and iPhone features:
BBM Chat: Enjoy real, immediate conversations with friends on Android, iPhone and BlackBerry smartphones.
More than chat:Share files on your phone such as photos and voice notes, all in an instant.
Keep your group in the loop: BBM Groups lets you invite up to 30