Whilst iMessage, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp have all become established alternatives to the text message, BlackBerry (formerly RIM) lay claim to the personal messaging land first with BlackBerry Messenger. The proprietary messaging service has proven to be a powerful tool for mobile users and a key selling point for many who would have otherwise jumped ship before the company’s reboot.
In its latest iteration, BlackBerry 10 users have been able to BBM both older BlackBerry devices as well as video chat and screen share with fellow BB10 users, but now the announcement that many have waited years for is here, as the company’s CEO, Thorsten Heins announced that BBM is coming to iOS and Android.
With the new BlackBerry brand image still being rebuilt, it could be considered a risky move to open up a service whose exclusivity has proven to be such a boon for the company in recent years, but Heins explained that the move signified a statement of confidence, not concern at the BlackBerry Live event in Florida earlier today.
The announcement follows on from improvements to BBM on existing BlackBerry devices with BBM Channels. The iOS and Android versions of BBM will be arriving this summer and best of all, it’ll be free to download and use. From the get-go, the new apps will feature the messaging, groups from the off, with voice, screen sharing and the new Channels service being added at a later date.
Should you want to make use of this enticing new offering from BlackBerry you’ll have to make sure you’re sporting an Apple device running iOS 6 or newer, while in the Android camp, users will need a device running anything with Ice Cream Sandwich or newer.