Blackberry's biggest strengths have always been their unbeatable security and the respected BlackBerry Messenger service. Last month, in a major strategy shift, the company announced that its BlackBerry Messenger service would finally be released for Android and iOS as a free app this summer.
If a tweet by T-Mobile UK is to be trusted, an actual launch is just around the corner. On its official account the company pinned the expected launch date as June 27 and accompanied those claims with a picture of the latest Samsung Galaxy smartphone using the software. Interestingly, the tweet has since been taken down, and a spokesman for BlackBerry dismissed the information as innacurate:
On May 14th, BlackBerry announced plans to make its ground-breaking mobile social network, BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), available to iOS and Android users this summer, subject to approval by the Apple App Store and Google Play. While there have been reports that BBM will be available to iOS and Android on June 27th, this is not accurate. We will communicate an update as soon as we have an availability date to share.
The company has yet to formally announce a launch date, which could indicate that T-Mobile UK may have fallen prey to rumors, or maybe they jumped the gun with the reveal ahead of time. But don't fret, BBM for Android and iOS will become available at some point this summer, we just have no idea when.
During May's announcement CEO Thorsten Heins said that the service would remain free and run on all platforms using iOS 6 or Android Ice Cream Sandwich. However, these versions will not initially contain all of the features offered through the Blackberry handsets - basic messaging will be it.
That being said, Heins clarified that extra BBM services in the form of BBM voice and screen sharing will slowly be added on to these apps, but users must remain patient. After all, Blackberry must maintain some type of competitive advantage over Apple and Google.
The big question is whether Blackberry acted wisely when they decided to make BBM an independent product. It's common knowledge that BBM isn't the only successful chat client - both Apple and Google have their own offerings, with Apple's iMessage quickly earning its own following. The big risk for Blackberry is that disgruntled smartphone users might simply jump ship, fully knowing that their BBM contact lists will remain intact.