September 23, 2013
Unofficial Android App Causes BlackBerry To Postpone BBM Launch
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
An unofficial Android version of BlackBerry’s BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) that was posted online has stalled the official release of the app to multiple platforms. Though interest in the new messaging app was high, BlackBerry announced in an official blog post they’ll be postponing the global release of this app.BBM will remain accessible to any iOS user who downloaded the app in the brief window of time in which it was available. Android users, on the other hand, will have to wait for BlackBerry to release the final version at some point in the future. The Waterloo, Ontario-based company announced late last week they’d be making their popular messaging service, easily the most popular feature of the BlackBerry, available to Android and iPhone customers this past weekend. This news followed an earlier report in the week that the company would be firing 40 percent of its workforce in a bid to stay afloat amongst turbulent times.
BlackBerry announced the news of the halted BBM rollout in an official blog post. Though the company said the initial interest in the unofficial Android version of the app, which earned about 1.1 million “active” users in the first 8 hours, was impressive, it did not say which issues this app was causing. Furthermore, BlackBerry did not mention why it is pausing all versions of the app instead of only the Android version.
“Our teams continue to work around the clock to bring BBM to Android and iPhone, but only when it’s ready and we know it will live up to your expectations of BBM,” reads the BlackBerry post. “As soon as we are able, we will begin a staggered country roll-out of BBM for Android and continue the roll-out of BBM for iPhone.”
There were some who doubted launching BMM for other platforms would make much of a difference for the once great phone maker. Smartphone messaging services like Google Hangouts or Apple’s iMessage have already captured the attention of many Android and iOS users. These apps work much like BBM has for many years, allowing users on the same platform to chat without dipping into their text messaging plan or even without a cellular plan.
BBM was once seen as the main reason for users to choose the BlackBerry platform over others. Just as it’s been seen in other areas of its business, the competition was quickly able to overtake the once-great company and produce a better product. The move to make BBM available to multiple users on multiple platforms was seen as a way to simply keep BlackBerry alive with hopes to one day monetize the platform through a licensing deal or charging for the service.
The bungled launch comes only a day after BlackBerry officially announced they’d be slashing 4,500 jobs and taking a $950 million operating loss in the previous quarter.
Despite the company’s best efforts, which included changing its name from RIM and releasing a modern touchscreen smartphone, BlackBerry admitted just last month it was looking for a buyer. Much of the $950 million loss stems from unsold BlackBerry phones, including the new Z10 and Q10 models. Though the Canadian company expected to sell as many as 6.8 million new smartphones, they only managed to move 2.7 million since its January launch.