BlackBerry has recruited a powerful partner to help promote the upcoming release of its BlackBerry Messenger service on Android: Samsung. It’s first major push is with a short video, confirming the app will be available on all Galaxy smartphones. However, the video hasn’t been given a wide release, and instead has been published on the Samsung Ghana YouTube channel.
The two unlikely pals announced a plan to push BBM in Africa earlier this month, and this is the first piece of evidence we’ve seen that the project is underway. The video is a little odd, in that it’s completely silent, but it clearly shows the BBM app will run on all of Samsung’s Android hardware, from smartphones to tablets.
A check of the Samsung Ghana Facebook page reveals the second piece of marketing material, the banner you see above saying, “ Coming soon to Samsung Galaxy smartphones, BBM.” BlackBerry Messenger will be part of Samsung’s Messaging Hub on its phones, and will also be available as a download through Google Play and Samsung’s own application store.
The marketing push shows BlackBerry’s commitment to one of the largest emerging smartphone markets. It’s estimated Africa will gain 175 million new mobile users over the coming three years, and BlackBerry’s considerable market share – close to 70 percent in South Africa – makes it perfectly placed to take advantage of this growth. A report from late last year says in Nigeria, a close neighbor of Ghana, two out of every four smartphones is a BlackBerry. Getting BBM out onto Android will raise its profile and could convert owners of rival hardware over to BlackBerry in the future.
BlackBerry announced the arrival of a cross-platform version of BBM during its BlackBerry Live event earlier this year, but has since stayed silent on its official release date, except to debunk a rumor. Now BlackBerry has started advertising the app, we probably don’t have long to wait before it arrives.