BBM chat app to be expanded to Android and iOS

Blackberry Messenger (BBM) app will be offered as a download to run on the Android and iOS, the company announced on Tuesday.

Blackberry said initially the text, picture messages and group sharing functions will be offered on Google-based and Apple-based iOS operating systems from this summer. The company added that voice, video calls and screen sharing have also been planned that will be totally free of charge.

The surprise news will be confirmed during the company’s annual developers’ conference in Orlando, Florida, Blackberry chief executive Thorsten Heins said.  The move is considered disrupting for Whatsapp, Skype and the other players in market.

But Mr. Heins talks down the idea that offering BBM, which the Canadian company said over 60 million Blackberry users access at least once a month, to the rival devices will leave a negative impact over the sales of its own handsets.

Heins said that for the app to work on Android the users would need Ice Cream Sandwich version of Google’s software and iPhone users need at least iOS 6.

Blackberry had launched BBM as a simple instant messaging tool and a free alternative to SMS texts for its handsets but over the years its potential has been extended beyond messaging and it now features several other functions like audio messages, picture messaging photo sharing, and voice and video calls.

The most recent addition in the application is Channels, a feature that allows the users to receive status updates and news from the celebrities and brands they are following on it. The Canadian company has an opportunity to vanquish its open cross-platform rivals by assembling all the features to Android and iOS devices.

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