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Update: BlackBerry has officially confirmed BBM is coming to Android this Saturday, September 21st, followed by the iOS client a day later. More information available in the press release.
BlackBerry's cross-platform move for its messaging service looks set to kick off on Friday with the release of its Android client, if a tweet from Samsung Mobile's Nigerian division is to be believed. The chatty community manager for the official account claimed his company had secured a three-month exclusivity period on the app, though Samsung has refused to comment further and BlackBerry distanced itself from such arrangement.
In an emailed statement addressing the claims, BBM Communications Director Victoria Berry told CrackBerry that "no one will have an exclusive on offering BBM." She didn't comment on the app's supposed Friday launch apart from saying that it will be available to both Android and iPhone users across the globe soon.
YES WE DID!!!! Available frm Friday RT @supersanusi: If Samsung really did get the 3 month exclusive like I heard, that would be something--- Samsung Mobile NG (@samsungmobileng) September 16, 2013
The tweet might amount to nothing more than a miscommunication error; after all, the two companies are already in a marketing partnership across Africa that will see BBM form part of the Messaging Hub that comes preinstalled on all Samsung Android devices. That deal is not an exclusive arrangement.
It won't be long before we find out if BlackBerry makes good on its 'summer' launch window. Recent leaks suggest BBM has been in private beta for over a month, while user guides for both the iOS and Android clients accidentally posted on the company's website suggest the official launch is not far off.
During May's announcement CEO Thorsten Heins said that the service would be free and compatible with iOS 6 and Android Ice Cream Sandwich or later. Initially BBM will be available as a text-only service, with extra features such as voice and screen sharing slowly added to these apps later on.