BlackBerry Messenger Beta to Begin Rolling Out for iOS and Android Devices
According to the folks over at BlackBerryOS
the beta version of BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) has started rolling out in the Beta Zone for Android and iOS devices. The Beta Zone, which is similar to Apple’s Developer Center, started sending out the invites to select registered users today, with more expected to follow in the upcoming days and weeks. The site has also leaked several screenshots of the Android version of the app but screenshots of the iOS version don’t appear to be available yet.
The beta is said to require iOS 6.0 or later according to Vivek Bhardwaj, the head of BlackBerry Software Portfolio who spoke to Trusted Reviews a few weeks ago. Announced in May for a summer release, BBM is expected to hit Google Play and the App Store sometime next month. There hasn’t been an official date confirmation as of yet following an announcement from T-Mobile UK having claimed a June 27 launch date.
For those of you who don’t know (or don’t remember), BBM is the proprietary messaging solution among BlackBerry devices and requires the use of a “PIN” – an eight character hexadecimal identification number that is uniquely assigned to every device. Currently there isn’t any information about how BlackBerry users will add iOS or Android devices to their contacts, although the most obvious solution would be through either a phone number or e-mail address.
This move indicates the first time the BlackBerry software has been available on other smartphones and marks a radical shift in the management of the Canadian-based manufacturer. From 2012 onwards, BlackBerrys have gradually been dropping in popularity with the latest reports indicating that the BlackBerry OS worldwide accounted for just 3.7% of smartphone usage in July 2013, compared with 38.3% for Android, 24.8% for iOS and 14.4% for Nokia’s S40 platform.
We’ll have to wait and see when the service is released for the Android and iOS platform and how it fairs.