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Finally, Blackberry Messenger coming to iOS and Android in 2013 !

If you are  a fan of BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), BlackBerry has announced that it would make its flagship product available on other platforms by the summer of 2013.

BlackBerry made this announcement at it annual three day BlackBerry Live. Now for the first time the mobile messaging service will be available to iOS and Android users in summer subject to approval by Google Play and the Apple App Store.

This means that one would now be able to connect with friends and family using other platforms to connect over BBM.

Customers on other mobile platforms will enjoy the same services as those presently on the BlackBerry platform.

Users will enjoy the immediacy of BBM chats, multi-person chats, voice notes sharing, files sharing and blackberry groups where BBM users can set up group chat with a maximum of 30 other users.

The BlackBerry team has definitely been working hard to bring the much-adored BBM experience to a wider group of mobile users.

In a recent press conference at BlackBerry Live 2013, Andrew Bocking, Executive Vice President, Software Product Management and Ecosystem said

- For BlackBerry, messaging and collaboration are inseparable from the mobile experience, and the time is definitely right for 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 set the standard for mobile instant messaging with fast and reliable service and an added layer of engagement with delivered and read statuses.

Upon release of the multi-platform BBM service, you can broaden that real-time connection to friends and colleagues on other supported mobile platforms.

BBM currently has more than 60 million active and 51 million daily active users who are connecting with friends and colleagues an average of one and half hours everyday.

BBM users send and receive more than 10 billion messages each day, nearly twice as many messages per user per day as compared to other mobile messaging apps. Almost half of BBM messages are read within 20 seconds of being received; indicating how truly engaged BBM customers are.

Today, BlackBerry also announced BBM Channels, a new social engagement platform within BBM that will allow customers to connect with the businesses, brands, celebrities and groups they are passionate about.

BlackBerry plans to add support for BBM Channels as well as voice and video chatting for iOS and Android later this year, subject to approval by the Apple App Store and Google Play. If approved by Apple and Google, the BBM app will be available as a free download in the Apple App StoreSM and Google Play store. Additional details about system requirements and availability will be announced closer to the launch.

How would this affect the African market?

It is no news that Blackberry is currently witnessing a boom in demand in many African countries. What would their recent decision to make the Blackberry Messenger service available on iOS and Android have on demand for the Blackberry service in African countries?

We think this would lead to a net migration of customers to iOS and Android. The Blackberry Messenger is a core feature behind Africans love for Blackberry smart phones. BBM drastically reduces the cost of instant messaging for users and portability to other smart phone platforms means that Africans would no longer be locked to Blackberry devices to enjoy the BBM experience.

MORE:

BlackBerry is making its Messenger (BBM) real-time messaging service available on Apple's iPhone and iPad and Google's Android platforms from summer, abandoning the platform exclusivity that had for years been a crucial tool in attracting and retaining users.
Announcing the move at the company's developer conference, software vice president Andrew Bocking said: "the time is definitely right for 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."
Chief executive Thorsten Heins called the move "a statement of confidence". BlackBerry says that BBM has more than 60 million monthly active users, with more than 51 million using BBM for an average of 90 minutes per day. Its customers collectively send and receive more than 10bn messages daily, with almost half read within 20 second of being received, it said.
The free app will be available once approved for Apple's iOS 6 software released last year and devices running Android 4.0 or higher, released in late 2011.
BBM was once seen as an iconic messaging system which drew both teenagers and business people onto the BlackBerry platform because messages could only be swapped between its own handsets. But with its installed base of users falling, the company has had to look for ways to generate revenues from its software expertise.
The move pitches BBM into a fight with other cross-platform data-reliant apps - known as "over the top" services - such as WhatsApp, WeChat and Viber. On Apple's iOS, it will put it up against the company's own iMessage app - though that does not work across different platforms.
But BBM is now one of the smallest cross-platform apps, with WhatsApp claiming more than 200 million active users, and WeChat around 190 million.
In the planned initial release, iOS and Android users would be able to experience the immediacy of BBM chats, including multi-person chats, as well as the ability to share photos and voice notes, and engage in BBM Groups, which allows BBM customers to create groups of up to 30 people.
BlackBerry says BBM provides customers with a high level of control and privacy over who they add to their contact list and how they engage with them, as invites are two-way opt-in. iOS and Android users would be able to add their contacts through PIN, email, SMS or QR code scan, regardless of platform. Android users would also be able to connect using a compatible NFC-capable device.

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