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Wednesday, 15 May 2013
BlackBerry Messenger to be available on iPhone and Android
Research In Motion unveiled a lower-cost BlackBerry aimed at consumers in emerging markets on Tuesday, and said it will offer its once-popular BlackBerry Messenger service on iPhones and devices running Google’s Android software.
CEO Thorsten Heins said the time is right to offer BBM on rival devices. He said iPhone and Android versions will be available for free, subject to approval by Google Play and the Apple App Store.
“It’s time to bring BBM to a greater audience,” Heins said. “I cannot wait for the day when all of our BlackBerry fans can send BBM invites to all their friends on other platforms. They have asked us for this for years.”
The BBM service was once a reason for BlackBerry users not to defect to other smartphones. Now, there are many rival messaging services. Still, there are more than 60 million BBM users worldwide.
Heins said the lower-cost Q5 device will be available in selected markets this summer The gadget is part of RIM’s effort to regain market share lost to Apple’s iPhone and Android smartphones. It is the company’s third smartphone to run the new BlackBerry 10 system. The Q5 will have a physical keyboard, something that sets RIM’s devices apart from Apple’s iPhone and most Android phones.
Heins said the “slim, sleek” device will be available in red, black, white and pink. He announced the phone to a packed ballroom to open RIM’s annual three-day conference in Orlando, Fla.
RIM unveiled new BlackBerrys this year after delays allowed Apple and others to dominate.
Heins, who became RIM’s CEO in January 2012, said the company has made a lot of progress in a short period of time, by moving a diverse collection of people into leadership positions.
He restated BlackBerry’s committed to “mobile first” and took a subtle jab at industry predictions that he might not make it to this year’s conference as CEO because of the competitive mobile landscape.
“I’m happy to say they were wrong,” Heins said. “We are not only still here. We are firing on all cylinders as a company.”