Facing increasing competition from cross-platform messaging services iMessage, WhatsApp and Kik Messenger, BlackBerry chief executive Thorsten Heins announced on Tuesday that BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) will be launching on iOS and Android this summer.
“The BB10 platform is so strong, and the response has been so good, that the time is right for BBM to become an independent mobile messaging platform,” claimed Heins.
The launch of BBM on iOS and Android has been in the rumor mill for over two years, so the move certainly isn’t surprising. The announcement was made at the BlackBerry Live 2013 conference in Orlando, although further details are limited at this point. Heins did confirm that both messaging services and the new BlackBerry Channels social feature will be supported by BBM on iOS and Android.
Alongside the physical keyboard, BBM has long been a major selling point of BlackBerry smartphones, so it will be interesting to see how the launch of the messaging service on rival platforms pans out for the Waterloo-based corporation. BBM, much like iMessage, is in essence a hybrid between text messaging and instant messaging. The service does not require a cellular data connection for communication.