BlackBerry announced today that it will open up its BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) instant-messaging program to iOS and Android users for free, with new clients coming for those platforms later this summer.
“We will make BBM available as the premiere multiplatform messaging solution all around the globe, and even better, it’s free,” BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins said at the BlackBerry Live conference in Orlando, FL. “This is such a great experience, it’s just too good to keep it only to ourselves.”
Because it’s a BlackBerry exclusive, BBM has only 60 million active users. It’s dwarfed by Android/iOS competitors like WhatsApp and Viber, which measure their user bases in the hundreds of millions. But BBM users are highly engaged, sending and receiving more than 10 billion messages per day, Heins said.
BBM for iOS and Android will start with messaging and groups features, but will roll out “feature parity” including voice calling, screen sharing, and video calling later this year, Heins said. It will be available for devices running iOS 6 and Android 4.0 or higher.
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