At BlackBerry’s Live event today, the news keeps coming: BlackBerry Messenger will be available to Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android users, subject to app store approval.
The company said its mobile social network, which was one of the first services to allow users to send messages over the Internet, instead of as part of a text and calling plan, would be available as a free download for Apple iOS and Android users this summer, subject to the relevant app stores’ approval. The move takes on the likes of other messages-as-Internet-data offers such as Viber and Whats App.
Support was planned for iOS 6 and Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) or higher, the company said, which means BlackBerry users can message friends and family on other mobile platforms.
Initial release would see Apple and Android users able to take part in multi-person chats and share photos and voice notes, BlackBerry said.
Software product management and ecosystem executive vice president Andrew Bocking said message and collaboration were inseparable from the mobile experience and the time was “definitely right” for BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) to become a multi-platform mobile service.
“BBM has always been one of the most engaging services for BlackBerry customers, enabling them to easily connect while maintaining a valued level of personal privacy. We’re excited to offer iOS and Android users the possibility to join the BBM community.”
BBM had more than 60 million monthly active customers with more than 51 million people using the service an average of 90 minutes per day, the company said.
Also announced as BBM Channels, which allows users to connect with brands, groups and businesses.
BlackBerry said it also planned to addvoice and video chatting for iOS and Android later this year, subject again to App Store approval.