BBM app rolls out for Android and iOS – for real this time

Jared Newman
22 October, 2013
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i-phoneBlackBerry is once again trying to release BBM for iOS and Android, after a leaked version of the app forced the company to pause its roll-out.

In a blog post, BlackBerry says the app will show up on Google Play and the iOS App Store within the next few hours. You can also visit BBM.com from an iPhone or Android device to get the download link.

Eager users may still have to wait a while before they can actually start sending and receiving messages. To deal with demand, BlackBerry says it’s implementing a line-up system, and users must enter an email address to reserve a spot in line after installing the app. Anyone who signed up in advance at BBM.com won’t have to wait in line.

BBM, short for BlackBerry Messenger, was once an exclusive feature for BlackBerry phones, allowing users to send messages among themselves without counting against their texting plans.

Users could see when their messages were received and when the recipient was typing back, which helped to make BlackBerry phones famously addictive.

In recent years, other apps such as WhatsApp and Viber have provided similar features across platforms, while Apple’s iMessage is a BBM-like service for iOS and OS X users. BlackBerry is likely feeling the pressure to expand BBM as the company’s plans for a smartphone resurgence slip away.

Unfortunately for Blackberry, the initial launch didn’t go smoothly. An Android version of the app leaked online before BlackBerry could officially launch it, and the demand wreaked havoc on BlackBerry’s servers .

The line system sounds similar to the one used by the popular iOS app Mailbox, which launched to great fanfare earlier this year. The wait for Mailbox lasted days or even weeks for some users. Hopefully BBM users won’t have to wait so long. BlackBerry says it is “focused on moving millions of customers through the line as fast as possible”.

by Jared Newman, Macworld

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