BlackBerry, formally RIM, has announced that it will launch BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) on both iOS and Android.
The struggling smartphone maker will launch BMM on rival mobile operating systems iOS and Android this summer, it said at BlackBerry Live. It will be the first multi-platform version of the instant messaging app which has 60 million active monthly users.
Andrew Bocking, executive vice president of Software Product Management at BlackBerry, said: "BBM has always been one of the most engaging services for BlackBerry customers, enabling them to easily connect while maintaining a valued level of personal privacy. We're excited to offer iOS and Android users the possibility to join the BBM community,"
For the first time, users will be able to send and receive messages on BBM between iPhone, Android and BlackBerry devices.
It's a big move and would have been an even bigger one if it had come a year or two ago. However, the general feeling across the press is that BlackBerry has just removed one of the key reasons to buy one of its smartphones.
Users will be able to add contacts via PIN, email, SMS or QR code scan, regardless of platform. Android users will also get the benefit of NFC with compatible devices.
Subject to approval from each app store, BBM will be available for iOS6 and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich or higher.
BlackBerry has also announced a new smartphone to sit alongside the Z10 and Q10. It's called the Q5, has a Qwerty keyboard and runs on BlackBerry 10 OS. The device will launch at the beginning of July.