BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) coming to iOS this summer

BlackBerry Messaging (BBM) coming to iOS this summerBlackBerry announced Tuesday plans to release its BBM messaging service to iOS and Android devices this summer.

"You may ask, why is BlackBerry doing this now?" asked Thorsten Heims, BlackBerry CEO. "It's a statement of confidence...It's time for BlackBerry Messaging to become a platform-independent messaging solution."

BBM on iOS will feature messaging and group management first, but BlackBerry plans to roll out additional features over the rest of the year, including voice, screen sharing, video, and the newest feature, BBM Channels.

BlackBerry claims that BBM now has over 60 million monthly active users, with more than 51 million people using BBM an average of 90 minutes per day, so it's a very active messaging ecosystem.

System requirements will call for iOS devices running iOS 6 or later, and it'll be a free download - assuming Apple approves the app, of course. But given then availability of other messaging products for iOS, it seems unlikely there would be a problem.

Via CrackBerry

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Peter Cohen

Mac Managing Editor of iMore and weekend Apple Product Professional at a local independent Apple reseller. Follow him on Twitter @flargh

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Reader comments

BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) coming to iOS this summer


oh get lost.. that "RIM is going to die" era of silliness is over now, be happy for more competition

Nice! I think BBM going cross platform is an interesting move for the company. Can't wait to see how this plays out.

I think with the failure of Z10 or is it Zed10, BB needs solutions. I think they will become a very profitable platform that runs on iOS/Android and Windows.

Failure ??? Alot of people I know picked up the Q10 and Z10 and have nothing but good things to say about them. I picked up an iphone 5 a few months back and love it. I miss BBM and will look forward to the app when it's available.

There have been a higher return rate for the Z10 then any of the current devices. Sales are in the slump even though they portray it as selling units, while this does not mean BB is dead, they have a boat load of cash and no debt. They are in a perfect position to deploy BBM and other tools and dominate the market because they are creating cross platform interoperability.

You're siting sources that both BlackBerry, and the carrier has said were untrue. And, BlackBerry has filed papers with Canadian SEC to do an investigation into the inaccurate report.

They have had ample time to furnish the data, where is it? Analyst are trimming forcast for the first fiscal year of 2014 (Ends May of 2013). Look is BB dieing no, they have a boat load of cash reserves and have no debt, but I think they will need to start transitioning to be an Enterprise Software Solutions Provider across various platforms then only develop hardware.

I recommend you read market trends and analysis. See their actual sales figures and not what they ship to carriers.

Most definitely yes! I have a few friends that use BlackBerry 10 as well as older devices and they just won't install Whatsapp or other messaging apps on their phones... kinda stubborn they are! This opens the door for a cross-platform messaging app that's probably gonna beat every single one out there right now!! (I loved the BBM service for the duration that I used it)

Yah expect blackberry in the number one free download spot. In your face marketing and brand recognition to every IOS and Android user. When competing with these dominant products, 90%+ market share, gotta make big moves. I have whatsapp on my blackberry and will have no problem convincing my iPhone friends to switch to BBM. And once that's done I could also convince all my Skype friends to switch to BBM for video chat.

"It's a statement of confidence...It's [4 years passed the] time for BlackBerry Messaging to become a platform-independent messaging solution."

This would have been cool three years ago when I switched from BB to iPhone, but now I no longer know anyone that uses BB.

And of course that "we" is iPhone, iPad and Mac users only. BBM will be able to connect iOS users with other platforms. And as Simon says, BBM is pretty darn good. The Video Chat is a better experience than most other mobile video chat services

But will the market care? We already have Skype for cross platform video chat. Tons of folks use Whatsapp. Everyone embedded in Apple world uses iMessage. Is there anything ground breaking enough in BBM to suck Android and iOS users out of their current setup?

I highly doubt it.

Damn, aren't you tired of pulling up an app for every damn message you have to send? whether is video chat, text message, or voice chat, or screenshare (sorry not available on any other app), you have to jump from skype to whatsapp (sure you know whatsapp is a very limited to texts chat service right?). If you have android friends, you have to open skype, or whatsapp, but your beloved iphone friends you have to go through imessage and facetime... not to mention android folks already have to deal with apps for everything!... One app for Gmail, one app for hotmail, one app for their work email such as Touchdown. They don't really have a native universal client. I'm not aware of how iOS is on this matter but BBM is a solution to the many jumps a user has to do to send a different type of message.

As someone who owned a blackberry for 7 years and for a few months last summer - I can tell you BBM goes down as well. Maybe not as frequently but hardly is the Gold standard in stability.

Blackberry is positioning themselves to being much more then a phone hardware company. Which is smart. Revenues from software and services are HUGE compared to hardware sales. Were talking business, automobiles, government, personal messaging etc. With all these things integrated, cross platform, open, with top security, Blackberry smartphone sales will naturally rise.

What is funny is everyone taking a shot at BBY. People saying it's all over ect. But if you step back a bit you can see the bigger picture. BBY as it is right now is not in the same position as Apple or Google. What they have been known for though is solid messaging with their service. Many companies are going the BYOD route with their employees. They still though have older BB servers running on the current issued Bolds and such. So what does BBY do to spur more BB server upgrades? Yep make BBM cross platform. This way the Companies still have control and security. BBY gets more updated servers out to more customers. In one fell swoop BBY solved a major problem both they and the business clientele were about to face.

I have plenty of people on iPhones, Android and BB. Now I can get all of them on BBM and have the assurance that I just don't get from a 3rd party app like What's app. As much as imessage is good it was a PITA if the person was on something other than an IOS device. SMS doesn't work with a wifi ipad. This though should give Apple a push to make iMessage more cross compatible. Lets see if it does.

Making BBM compatible with other platforms makes more sense because of its huge success.. iMessage doesn't come near BBM so unless Apple offers new unique features in iMessage that are not available yet in other messaging apps, it doesn't make much sense for Apple to take iMessage cross-platform. In fact I think iMessage will take a huge hit when BBM hits the market in the summer on iOS unless Apple does something about it.

interesting development and yes, i agree that it's it's years late, i wonder if the decision was made to compete with google's new babel.

i for one am very excited, even if i don't know a single person that uses blackberry i'm considering this as a viable alternative to imessage, skype, google voice and whatsapp. i gave up on imessage on my last trip as the servers were continiously down and i could never send a message to my wife. we switched over to whatsapp for that reason alone and it's been great. with regards to facetime -- sometimes you just want to have a phonecall and not a video chat, so skype serves that purpose for us. so i'm very excited to see if this would be a one stop solution to message, voice and video over wifi.

I love the idea but honestly dont see apple allowing some of the features like screen dont see that happening.

You are kinda missing the point.. when this becomes cross-platform you won't need to have a BB to use BBM.

Think of it as a new messaging app that is much better than anything else that is out there, and this app will be hitting the app store in the summer.

not really guy, whats the point in downloading a third party app for texting when imessage and regular texting work just fine? if it doesn't come stock on the phone then there's no point. How is this any different from kik or whatsapp? it's BB, how can it be so much better than anything else? you must work for BB or something the way your trolling on peoples comments trying to talk it up. please refrain from doing so, ya dig?

You've clearly never used BBM compared to iMessage, WhatsApp, and KIK. BBM is the best messaging platform out there, hands down.

It's also going to be free, which means you can use and pay for an inferior service (I'm looking at you WhatsApp) or you can use the best of the best for free.

I don't see how this logic doesn't occur to you.

i actually have had a blackberry before for a couple years. i wasn't impressed with it. I barely got to use bbm because NO ONE else ever has one. get lost poonjab with your dumb +1

who are you to say that bbm is the best out there. that's your opinion its not a fact. i don't even know why someone would pay for a messaging app anyway unless you're mental or something. there's nothing wrong with imessage or regular sms. is it really necessary to send and receive messages a few seconds faster than regular sms? i don't see the point. but then again, i do have a life and i'm not a nerd

bbm has features far superior to all those others, its like imessage, whatsapp, skype all blended into one. I for one cannot wait for this to be released, imessage is shit you cant do anything more than what you can do in a text message.

I can't wait to try it out and see what the hype is about. Never owned a Blackberry and at this point it doesn't look like will no time soon.

My reaction: So What?

Honestly, i don't know anyone that uses this. That said i only know one person that i know has a blackberry. Regardless, hey good for them. If someone wants it i'm not anti messenger. I'm just don't have any use for it.

Perhaps I am in the minority here but I see no reason to use BBM at all any more. As others have said it would have been nice way back when I made the switch but I just just iMessage and SMS. I know that not everyone has unlimited SMS like I do but almost everyone is the US does and I just do not see a need for yet another messaging app on my iPhone,iPad,or Macbook pro. I almost never have an issue with iMessage and for those rare friends of mine that do not us iOS I Just use SMS since it is contained in the same app.

i'm with you. i have unlimited text. even my mom does now. And on my phone imessage and sms are both on. I didn't know the difference until imore put up articles about it and i finally googled imessage. Me i just send a text. i don't pay attention to what service is used. i pick a name and send. That's all i know. I even had what'sapp installed and got rid of it cause i don't need instant messaging or us it.

You almsot never have an issue with iMessage. Well more power to you good sir because whenever imessage is down for some odd reason im the first to get hit here in sunny south florida

You do not have friends or family over seas. BBM is how I communicate with people across the globe without having to pay for global text packages and they don't have to either. I can also call them for free as well.

I am all for free telecommunication and if this will allow me to have free connection with my BB friends and iMessage let's me commune with my iOS friends, when I go back to negotiating my next contract I will have some more flexibility is service options I need to purchase.

Facebook has their IM, Google has their IM, all on IOS, this is no innovation already. Bet it's a "do it to survivie" in today's competitors mobile business. they're losing corporate customers away to likes to samgsung and apple more than 12 mths ago? too slow to react?

I think this is a smart move for BB. If you can't beat them you might as well join them. Why wouldn't they want some kind of piggyback platform on apple's infrastructure. I kind of hope that they succeed because more options are always better than less. Go BB!

as much as i think that this is a great idea... at the same time i think its ridiculous.. why would other platforms need bbm as a messenger.. i think blackberry is unique to have bbm on their platform and it should stay that way and it wouldnt be called blackberry messaging if all platforms have it.. and its not like iphone would need it now since they have imessage happening and its starting to develope slowly..

As a former blackberry user i can vouch for the solidity and speed of BBM. If it does come to ios it may dominate because its a service they have been refining for what seems like ages now. Also if some of those new features come to ios such as screen-sharing i can see it taking a dominate spot, right behind Imessage I can use this instead of SMS to talk to the one person left in the world I know using a Blackberry.

Great idea by Blackberry. Unfortunately it comes 3 years too late.

Cool story bro... its just like 5 years too late... I can count with one hand, wait, two fingers, the people I know that have a Blackberry and use BBM... With iMessage, whats the point of this... RIP RIM... Thats the truth of it. Period.

the "PIN only" system has basically been phased out, you log in with you blackberry ID and it re-adds all your contacts automatically (for device switches).

you can add a contact by PIN, Email/blackberryID, scanning the bar codes (which is still technically pin i guess) and NFC "bump", though they all are tied back into the BB ID.

so, you would need to create a blackberry ID in order for it to work

i own a Q10 (gets ready for BB hate fires) and i can say that the voice chat on BBM is better quality then cellular network call quality, and video is just as good or better than skype, screen sharing is a neat feature, though it doesnt get much use, its not often i have to show my screen to someone.

i look forward to my iOS and Droid friends having the option to use bbm, i think its a great move and will really tie everyone together nicely

I too have a Q10 & I agree that the call quality on BBM voice is better then when using the cellular network, with 1 big notable exception. If either me or the person I'm talking to is in an area with a week or slow data connection the call quality goes down very quickly to very bad. That being said, that issue will become less & less of an issue as carriers improve their networks & LTE becomes more predominant (Q10 on LTE is amazing)

Some of you guys are missing the point. With BBM on multiplatforms you don't have to know anyone with a BlackBerry. All you have to know is someone with the app. You'll be able to use it from iPhone to android and vice versa. Do I think that BBM will be useless? Don't know, but one thing I know is that choice is good. And since BBM will become another messaging choice then I guess it's good.

trouble is, these days most non-business users, and many business users, have learned to use other instant messaging systems, such as Facebook messaging and others. In fact with more and more Wireless Telco's having unlimited text messaging, as a requirement rather than an option, your point has become mute because instant messaging doesn't even require the recipient to be a BBM user or even have a 'smartphone' so even those with a feature phone or basic phone are contactable.

In fact, SMS messaging are becoming increasingly sidelined as well.

about time this happened!! that was one of my favourite features of blackberry (the other being total customisation) and i have waited for this day for ages

I wanna share my few words and say, IMPRESSIVE.
This is going be an amazing feature when its released, what I can see happening for PIN and barcode its all going be the same. GO Blackberry your finally getting out into the real world and now we got major competition between apple and blackberry, are we going be saying bye to imessage?

lets see what it will bring us

If they was smart they would of done this when everyone was jumping ship from Blackberry. I know 75% would of kept using BBM with IOS or Andriod

iMessage pales in comparison to the speed and reliability of BBM. Iā€™m a former BB user who switched to iPhone and having used a 4 and now a 5 i can tell you, as beautiful as it is and as many many apps it can have, the iPhone is not the pure communication device that a BB is. Plain and simple. Great move by BB.

It is a smart move for Blackberry. They are in a situation where they are having to plan for the worst and hope for the best.

If their hardware designs fail they have to find a way where they can monetize the parts of the system that were 'proprietary' to the Blackberry handsets.

They just have to work out a system that will monetize those features.

The only question is though, surely, "How relevant is BBM compared to other cross platform messenger systems?". It could be too late for BBM.

As for people comparing BBM messenger speeds to the likes iMessage and saying that speeds pale in comparison. Remember BBM will suffer the same constraints of the various operating systems, for example on Apple iOS, the speed of the push system!

So while it may have remain 'speedy' on the Blackberry handsets, it may not be quite as speedy on the rival OS's be it Android or iOS.

Would I use BBM? As a previous BB owner and user I have to admit, I never missed BBM and probably won't worry about it. With unlimited Text Messaging, Facebook Messaging, iMessage etc it is not as essential as it was even 4 years ago as an efficient way of communicating with other employee's.

I personally think making BBM a cross-platform is quite a bad idea. When I switched to iPhone, I terribly missed BBM and hopped back to BB *JUST* for BBM but again came back to iPhone(Yea, i am a nerd). I am glad that I am on iOS(that's a different aspect all together). The point is, people usually go for BBRY because of BBM. I don't see any other reason(Apps, great UI, eco-system, build quality?) I am not against BBRY, so I wish all the best to 'em.. Hope this move brings some luck ..

And yea , I am hell excited to have BBM on my iPhone 5! Bring it on!!!!

They should have done this 10 years ago. Apple has the upper hand with iMessages being intergrated with SMS all they have to do is improve on it with added features.

I have a Z10 per one week now and I have say that is an awesome phone. Just incredible in all aspects. Some of my friends have their iphones and galaxies and I used them. BlackBerry in this moment is ahead of the two. BBM going cross platform will only help the company to show its potential and grow the market share.