BlackBerry extends messenger to iPhone and Android devices

BLACKBERRY has extended its popular messaging service to Android devices and the iPhone, the first time the firm has allowed its own software on rival devices.

The Canadian company’s chief executive Thorsten Heins yesterday said that BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), which lets users send text messages, photos and videos over an internet connection, will be available as an app this summer.

The reasoning behind the move is unclear, since BBM is seen as one of the major reasons for buying a BlackBerry phone. However, its success has led to a host of similar services, such as WhatsApp and Apple’s iMessage, which have cut out the advantage of having BBM as a unique feature.

Extending the service could be seen as a move to expose the BlackBerry brand to iPhone and Android users, or Heins may plan to gain additional revenues from BBM by introducing adverts at some stage in the future.

BBM was one of the first internet-based alternatives to text messaging, and has remained one of the most popular, with 60m people using the service daily.