BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) looks set to pick up a load more users in the coming weeks after the mobile company rolled out its popular app to more Android users Tuesday.
You’re right, the social messaging app launched on Android back in October, though only for handsets running Ice Cream Sandwich (v. 4.0) or higher. Now, anyone with a device running Gingerbread (v. 2.3) can also get hold of the free app.
Considering more than 20 percent of Android handsets are still running Gingerbread – many of them in emerging markets – the wider compatibility has the potential to give the app’s user base a significant boost.
Since taking the reins in November, BlackBerry boss John Chen has stated on several occasions that a heavier focus on BBM is part of the company’s strategy to get the struggling business back on its feet. It’s also set to concentrate more on the enterprise market with sales and services, an area in which it performed strongly when the Waterloo, Ontario mobile maker was in its prime a few years back.
When BBM launched for iOS and Android four months ago, it hit 10 million downloads in its first 24 hours after going live. Since then, the app has been gradually knocked into shape via several updates, the most recent of which brought free voice calls, a feature BlackBerry users have been able to make use of for over a year.
The launch of BBM for more Android users demonstrates BlackBerry’s eagerness to exploit the better performing parts of its business, though increasing competition in the social messaging space means the long-term success of BBM is by no means guaranteed.