BlackBerry now has 80 million active users.
BlackBerry has proved there is still demand for its BBM service with the firm claiming its app has been downloaded 20 million times in the last week by Android and iOS users.
The smartphone maker claims that it now has 80 million people actively using the BBM service, although this is still someway short of the 300 million users of existing cross-platform service Whatsapp.
Andrew Bocking, executive VP of BBM at BlackBerry said he was happy with the numbers, but the firm will now focus on providing more services.
“From here on out, we will focus on active users of BBM and will no longer focus on simple download numbers,” he said.
BBM is available as a free download in the Google Play market, Apple App Store and select Samsung App Stores. However, due to high demand for the app BlackBerry has been limiting access.
Users who signed up at BBM.com, will get a headstart and should be able to use BBM on their Android or iOS device immediately. Those who didn’t sign up will have to register and wait for an email before they can activate the app.
What is BBM?
BlackBerry Messenger or BBM as it is commonly known was one of the first mainstream instant-messaging services on smartphones. The app comes preloaded onto BlackBerry devices allowing users to call, text, video chat and share screens with other BlackBerry users via 3G and free over Wi-Fi.
Using the BlackBerry Group feature, you can privately share calendar events, photos and other documents with up to 30 other BBM users.
How does it work?
Each BlackBerry devices is assigned a unique PIN – which acts as contact number. In theory these PIN-to-PIN messages are as secure as they come. Despite being able to send and receive messages in seconds, there is a complex four-step process for each message:
1. The first stop for a BBM PIN-to-PIN message is the user’s mobile network.
2. The operator then forwards the message to a BlackBerry relay station in Canada.
3. From here message is transferred to BlackBerry’s mobile service provider
4. Finally, the (receiving) mobile service provider then transmits the message to the recipient.
Why is BlackBerry rolling out BBM to iOS and Android users now?
Blackberry is struggling to gain traction in the smartphone market, having spent the bulk of 2012 designing its BlackBerry 10 operating system. The firm lost many of its users to Android and iOS operating systems during this time.
Applications such as WhatsApp, which allow users to communicate over-cross platforms have also become hugely popular and at this moment in time are more useful than BBM.
BBM has an active user base of 60 million, compared to 200 million for WhatsApp. BlackBerry is hoping that by extending its app to Android and iOS, users will be encourage to buy its devices.
Will the Android and iOS versions have all the same features and functionality?
For the most part yes. iOS and Android users would be carry out all the regular BBM messaging services. The app will also allow them to share photos and voice notes, and engage in BBM Groups chats containing up to 30 people.
iOS and Android users will be able to add their contacts through PIN, email, SMS or QR code scan. BlackBerry says that Android users will also be able to connect using a compatible NFC-capable device.