After delays, BBM for Android and iPhone is finally here, but you'll have to get in queue
Hit by delays and problems since September, BlackBerry has now continued to roll out BBM for Android and iPhone now. Officially announced last night, BlackBerry has stated that BBM is now available for Android users via Google Play and iPhone users via the Apple App store.
While you can download the software easily enough, that’s only the first step towards getting the software working, as there’s now a delay on the back end. According to BlackBerry new users have to enter their email address after installing the app, which will get them a “spot in line”. Once you’ve reached the front of the line, you’ll get an email telling you that you’re ready to go and can start using BBM.
According to the company, anyone that pre-registered for BBM updates will got priority access to the front of the queue. With six million people doing exactly that it could take a while for the backlog to clear.
BBM has been hit by delays, which BlackBerry has pinned on an unreleased, earlier version of the Android app that was posted on file sharing sites. This older version resulted in “volumes of data traffic orders of magnitude higher than normal” for each active user and hit BlackBerry’s system in “abnormal ways”.
After account activation, iOS and Android users will be able to join BlackBerry customers in sending free text messages, along with files, voice clips and photos, instantly. BBM let’s you know when messages have been read, which BlackBerry says is “the closest thing to a live conversation” you can have on a smartphone without actually making a call.
“BBM is a very engaging messaging service that is simple to use, easy to personalize and has an immediacy that is necessary for mobile communications,” Andrew Bocking, BlackBerry’s Executive VP for BBM, said of the launch. “With more than a billion Android, iOS, and BlackBerry smartphones in the market, and no dominant mobile messaging platform, this is absolutely the right time to bring BBM to Android and iPhone customers”.
The release comes as BlackBerry apparently prepares to significantly cut back on staff. According to the Wall Street Journal, the troubled smartphone manufacturer could be aiming to let almost 40 per cent of its staff go by the end of the year.