For years, BlackBerry Messenger was the crowning jewel atop Research in Motion’s BlackBerry OS, but now, in BlackBerry‘s brave new world, it’s another commodity which must adapt or die. Right at the end of yesterday’s BlackBerry Live keynote presentation, CEO Thorsten Heins shared the news that BlackBerry Messenger was about to change, as this summer it will be made available as an app for iOS and Android.
It’s something which has been spoken about for some time, but now it’s really going to happen – BBM is about to become a cross-platform app for all to enjoy, (almost) regardless of which operating system their phone uses. The app will be free to download and use, and the first version will provide single and multiple person chats, voice note sharing, and access to BlackBerry Groups. Here, you’ll be able to share calendars and photos with up to 30 people. Future versions of the app will add new features such as BBM Voice, where BBM contacts can make free to calls to each other.
Heins’ announcement is quite premature though, as while the app could already exist, it hasn’t been submitted to either app store yet, a point made clear in the official press release. We’d be surprised if it ran into any problems, as both Apple and Google allow similar apps such as WhatsApp to happily operate.
As for a release date, the official word is it’ll arrive sometime in the summer. Of course, much will depend on how long it takes for approval once it’s sent to the app stores.