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BlackBerry confirms release date of BBM for Android and iPhone

Update: BlackBerry says it has pulled the leaked Android app, and has halted the rollout of the iOS app because demand caused “issues” with its servers.

BlackBerry has confirmed the release date for BBM for Android and iOS. In a statement to the press BlackBerry outlined the release date for both platforms as well as some of the features we’ll see once the IM client goes live.
BBM for Android will get a release date on September 21 and the IM client will come to Apple’s iPhone on September 22.
“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,” said Andrew Bocking, Executive Vice President for BBM at BlackBerry.
“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.”
BBM for iPhone and Android will initially include chat, photo and voice note sharing, multi-person chats with up to 30 people, and the ability to post status updates and personal messages. However, BlackBerry says the apps will get BBM Channels in a future updates. Although there's still no word on when it is coming to Windows Phone. 
BlackBerry highlighted the following features of BBM inside the release: 
BBM Chat – Enjoy real, immediate conversations with friends on Android, iPhone and BlackBerry smartphones. Not only does BBM let you know that your message has been delivered and read, it also shows you that your friend is responding to the message. 
More than chat – With BBM you can share files on your phone such as photos and voice notes, all in an instant.
Keep your group in the loop – Multi-person chats are a great way to invite contacts to chat together. BBM Groups lets you invite up to 30 friends to chat together, and go a step further than multi-chat by sharing photos and schedules. And, with Broadcast Message, you can send a message out to all your BBM contacts at once.
Post Updates and stay in the know – BBM lets you post a personal message, profile picture and your current status, and lets your contacts know instantly in Updates.
Your unique PIN – Every BBM user has a unique PIN that maintains your privacy, so you don’t have to give out your phone number or email address to a new or casual contact.
And here's some pictures of what BBM for Android and iOS will look like: 
BBM will be available as a free download for Android smartphones running Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean (Android 4.x) beginning at 7AM EDT on September 21. BBM for iPhones running iOS 6 and iOS 7 will become available for each market on the App Store schedule of 12:01 AM local time on September 22. For more information, or to download BBM for Android or iPhone, visit www.BBM.com.Sept 18 2013

BlackBerry Z30 announced – no word on BBM for Android and iOS

BlackBerry has unveiled the BlackBerry Z30, the most powerful phone the company has ever produced. But sadly there was no mention of when BBM for Android and iOS would become available. Previous reports had suggested BBM for Android would launch on September 18, which, of course, is today.
That’s looking rather unlikely now. But multiple sources seem convinced a release is nigh – some even speculate it could happen on September 20. There was also talk of Samsung getting a three month exclusive on the cross-platform IM service, but that rumour has now been put to bed.  
A BlackBerry representative has responded to the internet chatter, issuing a statement toCrackBerry and confirming that the app will be available to both Android and iOS at the same time.
Victoria Berry, BlackBerry's communications director, said, "The excitement around the upcoming BBM launch on iPhone and Android devices seems to know no bounds. Although I’m a big fan of this passion, I want to clarify that no one will have an exclusive on offering BBM. We’ll be bringing the app to Android and iPhone users across the globe soon.”When it does finally hit Google Play, BlackBerry has confirmed the app will be available to all Android handsets running Ice Cream Sandwich and higher. 
Rumours. Rumours. Rumours. When it comes to BBM for Android and iOS there are plenty. But today’s update does look a little more solid than some of the other guff we’ve seen during the past month or so. Blackberry will apparently launch BBM cross-platform on September 20 via an event in Jakarta – and there’s even an invite. 
The report comes, once again, via CrackBerry – one of the web’s best resources for all things BlackBerry. Below is the apparent roll-out schedule for BBM to Android and iOS. Looks like September 20 could well be on the money… 
  • Friday, Sept 20th, 7am EST: Android version published on Google Play
  • Friday, Sept 20th, 7am EST: BBM.com goes live
  • Friday, Sept 20th, 7am EST: CRM messages sent out to pre-registrants
  • Friday, Sept 20th, 7am EST: Follow-up CRM message sent out after full App Store deployment
  • Saturday, Sept 21st: BBM on iOS becomes available 12:01am EST in local time zones.
We'll update this article as soon as we know more...

September 16 2013:

The APK for BlackBerry's BBM for Android application has leaked online, allowing you to install the forthcoming app on your Android phone early.
The app emerged via the XDA-developer forums.
However, there's a catch. While you may indeed install the app on your phone you can't actually use it yet. That's because BBM uses BlackBerry's dedicated BBM network, but this hasn't been enabled for BBM for Android yet, so you can't actually connect and use it.
According to reports it will work for 'whitelisted' handsets, but these are understood to be carried by BlackBerry personnel only. What all of this means though is that development is likely quite far along and a release may even be imminent.
Previous reports have suggested we would see BBM for Android launched by the end of the summer - we may now indeed be in Autumn, but allowing for some overlap it could still be quite soon. In additon, BlackBerry is lining up a launch event for September 18 and it is possible this could see the new branch of BlackBerry's service officially announced.

September 9 2013:

A video showcasing what BBM for Android will look like has surfaced online. Picked up by Engadget and posted online, the video gives us our first proper glimpse of BlackBerry’s trademark BBM UX running on Google’s Android OS.
But there’s still no official release date in place with BlackBerry still maintaining it’s coming “this summer” – which is great, but last time we checked summer was just about done. Our BBQ has been out of action for weeks now… 
In the video we’re treated to a display of how BBM for Android uses NFC to transfer contacts. It’s unclear whether the application will tap into your existing Android contacts list or require a BlackBerry ID – presumably it’ll be the latter.
BBM is also coming to iOS but BlackBerry has yet to say when that will be. BlackBerry execs confirmed at BlackBerry World Live 2013 that there were no plans in place to bring the IM service to Windows Phone. 

BBM demoed on Samsung Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5

Ahead of its release later this month, BlackBerry has been showing off BBM for Android and iOS the Toronto International Film Festival. 
KYM wasn’t at the festival, unfortunately, so we don’t have any pictures or video but the fact that BlackBerry is now officially demoing BBM for both iOS and Android means the wait is almost over. 
UberGizmo managed to snap the below image, but there is currently no video footage of BBM running on the iPhone, however, as filming was strictly prohibited at the film expo. 
BlackBerry submitted BBM for iOS to Apple's App Store over two weeks ago, according to reports. BlackBerry’s Senior Strategic Account Manager, Alex Kinsella, confirmed the news via Twitter: “Just in case we forgot to mention, BBM for iPhone was submitted for review 2 wks ago. #waiting #BBM4ALL”
BBM for Android and iOS has been spotted in official user manuals, right on the BlackBerry Global website.
Both manuals, leaked on CrackBerry, show users how to:
  • Navigate around BBM
  • Sign in with your BlackBerry ID
  • Change your BBM status or profile
  • Add a BBM contact
  • Start a BBM chat
  • View someone's BBM profile
  • View recent BBM activities
  • View your chat history
  • Join or create a BBM group
  • Set sounds
  • Add emoticons
  • Plus troubleshooting information
Although we've heard a lot about BBM for Android and iOS launching this summer, this is the first true evidence we've seen that BBM is coming to Android and iOS devices very soon indeed.
You can download the BBM for Android and BBM for iOS manuals now.
At the beginning of the month, BBM for Android was leaked running on a Samsung Galaxy S3 ahead of the free IM client’s scheduled ‘summer’ rollout. BGR secured the image, giving us our first look at what BBM will look running on a non-BlackBerry device.
It’s been reported that BBM will arrive first on Android and then iOS. BlackBerry said the service would go live before the end of the summer, following its announcement at BlackBerry World Live 2013 in May.
More recent reports have claimed BBM will launch before the end of September although BlackBerry is remaining very tight-lipped about concrete release dates. Adding fuel to the speculative bonfire that is when-will-BBM-come-to-Android is the news that Samsung Galaxy handsets may get the service first via the company’s Samsung Apps portal. 
Here’s the scoop via Android Authority:
‘Samsung has confirmed that the app will indeed be coming to Android. But it also added that it will be in its own Samsung Apps as part of its Messaging Hub on its Android-powered Galaxy devices. Word is that Samsung is starting to work on its advertising campaign for the new feature.’
Samsung is also said to be running radio adverts in South Africa advertising the upcoming addition of BBM to its Samsung Apps portal, although we’ve yet to verify this claim. We’ll update when we know more. 
BlackBerry announced its plans to make BBM cross platform at BlackBerry World Live 2013. It was a big announcement and something that took a lot of people of guard. 
Android users will be required to sign-in with a BlackBerry account to use the service. Don't have an existing BlackBerry account? Then you'll presumably have to register for one. 
Not all BBM features will be coming across to iOS and Android – BlackBerry is keeping some exclusive to its own handsets. But Android will be a more feature-rich service, according to BlackBerry, on account of the platform's more open nature.
Sunil Lalvani, managing director for BlackBerry India, has reportedly spilled the beans on when we can expect to see BBM released for Android.
Speaking to IBN Live, Lalvani stated that BlackBerry would launch BBM for Android inside the next two months. BlackBerry had previously said it wanted to roll the service out during the summer and now it seems that a late-September release is on the cards.
‘The service is coming to Android this summer. But summer as per North America, where it remains till September,’ said Lalvani.
The exec did not mention whether this date also applied to the iOS version of BBM. BlackBerry confirmed the launch of BBM for Android and iOS at BlackBerry World Live 2013, but it did add that the Android version, owing to the more open nature of Google’s OS, would likely be a more feature-rich version than its iOS counterpart.
BBM – in case, somehow, you don’t know what it is – is an IM client that allows users to send messages using their handsets web-connection. Think WhatsApp and iMessage, just bigger, better, and older. BBM is the IM app that started it all.
The rise of cross-platform services like WhatsApp as well as BlackBerry’s own diminishing presence in the mobile space during the past couple of years has forced the company into making one of its only remaining USPs available on competitor platforms.
Whether it’s a branding exercise or merely a money-spinner remains to be seen. BlackBerry’s official line on the matter is that BBM is the best IM client in the world and everybody – iOS and Android people included – deserve access to it.
BlackBerry has high hopes for the rollout of its BBM service on Android and iOS, so much so that we might even see it pre-installed by some manufacturers. 
BlackBerry fielded questions about BBM for Android and iOS at the London launch of the Q5 earlier today. Unfortunately the BlackBerry execs weren't able to tell us anymore about concrete release dates for the service – 'BBM for iOS and Android is coming this summer'. 
BBM, one of BlackBerry’s most unerring USPs over the years, is coming to iOS and Android this summer. BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins broke the news at the company’s BB Live 2013 expo in Florida last month. 
Android and iOS will both support the application and the messaging service is expected to go live at some point this summer. BlackBerry hasn’t been particularly forthcoming about a specific release date although summer is now very much underway, so the service could appear inside Google Play and Apple's App Store very soon. 
Alluding to BBM’s pre-installation on some Android devices, BlackBerry’s COO Kristian Tear told CNET: ‘There is interest from other handset makers.’ And rightly so, too. BBM is used by 51 million users a month for an average of 90 minutes a day, according to reports.  
T-Mobile US dropped a ball this week, claiming the service would be available for Android users from June 27 on Twitter before subsequently retracting the statement, presumably after receiving a bollocking from BlackBerry. Here’s the retraction: ‘sorry folks, we got over-excited about the BBM app coming to Android/iOS. No specific availability date yet, stay tuned for details.’ 
BBM for Android is likely to be more feature-rich than its iOS-based counterpart, owing to the more open-nature of Google’s mobile platform, according to BlackBerry. And not all features will make the transition with the company keeping some BBM features exclusive to its hardware.
There will be chats (including multi-user chats), Groups and voice notes. Voice and video calls, channels plus screen sharing will be added later on

Check out our Hands-On Review of BBM app for iOS

Check out the screenshots of BBM for iPhone


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