Sunday, September 8, 2013

GOOD NEWS: You can now ping (BBM) with your Android

BBM on Android? Impossible... Why has android decided to spoil Blackberry market, Choi:
A video showcasing what BBM for Android will look like has surfaced online. Picked up by Engadget and posted online, the video gives us our first proper glimpse of BlackBerry’s trademark BBM UX running on Google’s Android OS.

But there’s still no official release date in place with BlackBerry still maintaining it’s coming “this summer” – which is great, but last time we checked summer was just about done. Our BBQ has been out of action for weeks now…

In the video we’re treated to a display of how BBM for Android uses NFC to transfer contacts. It’s unclear whether the application will tap into your existing Android contacts list or require a BlackBerry ID – presumably it’ll be the latter.

BBM is also coming to iOS but BlackBerry has yet to say when that will be. BlackBerry execs confirmed at BlackBerry World Live 2013 that there were no plans in place to bring the IM service to Windows Phone.

BBM for Android and iOS has been spotted in official user manuals, right on the BlackBerry Global website.

Both manuals, leaked on CrackBerry, show users how to:

Navigate around BBM
Sign in with your BlackBerry ID
Change your BBM status or profile
Add a BBM contact
Start a BBM chat
View someone’s BBM profile
View recent BBM activities
View your chat history
Join or create a BBM group
Set sounds
Add emoticons
Plus troubleshooting information

Although we’ve heard a lot about BBM for Android and iOS launching this summer, this is the first true evidence we’ve seen that BBM is coming to Android and iOS devices very soon indeed.

You can download the BBM for Android and BBM for iOS manuals now.

At the beginning of the month, BBM for Android was leaked running on a Samsung Galaxy S3 ahead of the free IM client’s scheduled ‘summer’ rollout. BGR secured the image, giving us our first look at what BBM will look running on a non-BlackBerry device.

It’s been reported that BBM will arrive first on Android and then iOS. BlackBerry said the service would go live before the end of the summer, following its announcement at BlackBerry World Live 2013 in May.

More recent reports have claimed BBM will launch before the end of September although BlackBerry is remaining very tight-lipped about concrete release dates. Adding fuel to the speculative bonfire that is when-will-BBM-come-to-Android is the news that Samsung Galaxy handsets may get the service first via the company’s Samsung Apps portal.

Here’s the scoop via Android Authority:

‘Samsung has confirmed that the app will indeed be coming to Android. But it also added that it will be in its own Samsung Apps as part of its Messaging Hub on its Android-powered Galaxy devices. Word is that Samsung is starting to work on its advertising campaign for the new feature.’

Samsung is also said to be running radio adverts in South Africa advertising the upcoming addition of BBM to its Samsung Apps portal, although we’ve yet to verify this claim. We’ll update when we know more.

BlackBerry announced its plans to make BBM cross platform at BlackBerry World Live 2013. It was a big announcement and something that took a lot of people of guard.

Android users will be required to sign-in with a BlackBerry account to use the service. Don’t have an existing BlackBerry account? Then you’ll presumably have to register for one.

Not all BBM features will be coming across to iOS and Android – BlackBerry is keeping some exclusive to its own handsets. But Android will be a more feature-rich service, according to BlackBerry, on account of the platform’s more open nature.

Sunil Lalvani, managing director for BlackBerry India, has reportedly spilled the beans on when we can expect to see BBM released for Android.

Speaking to IBN Live, Lalvani stated that BlackBerry would launch BBM for Android inside the next two months. BlackBerry had previously said it wanted to roll the service out during the summer and now it seems that a late-September release is on the cards.

‘The service is coming to Android this summer. But summer as per North America, where it remains till September,’ said Lalvani.

The exec did not mention whether this date also applied to the iOS version of BBM. BlackBerry confirmed the launch of BBM for Android and iOS at BlackBerry World Live 2013, but it did add that the Android version, owing to the more open nature of Google’s OS, would likely be a more feature-rich version than its iOS counterpart.

BBM – in case, somehow, you don’t know what it is – is an IM client that allows users to send messages using their handsets web-connection. Think WhatsApp and iMessage, just bigger, better, and older. BBM is the IM app that started it all.

The rise of cross-platform services like WhatsApp as well as BlackBerry’s own diminishing presence in the mobile space during the past couple of years has forced the company into making one of its only remaining USPs available on competitor platforms.

Whether it’s a branding exercise or merely a money-spinner remains to be seen. BlackBerry’s official line on the matter is that BBM is the best IM client in the world and everybody – iOS and Android people included – deserve access to it.

BlackBerry has high hopes for the rollout of its BBM service on Android and iOS, so much so that we might even see it pre-installed by some manufacturers.

BlackBerry fielded questions about BBM for Android and iOS at the London launch of the Q5 earlier today. Unfortunately the BlackBerry execs weren’t able to tell us anymore about concrete release dates for the service – ‘BBM for iOS and Android is coming this summer’.

BBM, one of BlackBerry’s most unerring USPs over the years, is coming to iOS and Android this summer. BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins broke the news at the company’s BB Live 2013 expo in Florida last month.

Android and iOS will both support the application and the messaging service is expected to go live at some point this summer. BlackBerry hasn’t been particularly forthcoming about a specific release date although summer is now very much underway, so the service could appear inside Google Play and Apple’s App Store very soon.

Alluding to BBM’s pre-installation on some Android devices, BlackBerry’s COO Kristian Tear told CNET: ‘There is interest from other handset makers.’ And rightly so, too. BBM is used by 51 million users a month for an average of 90 minutes a day, according to reports.

T-Mobile US dropped a ball this week, claiming the service would be available for Android users from June 27 on Twitter before subsequently retracting the statement, presumably after receiving a bollocking from BlackBerry. Here’s the retraction: ‘sorry folks, we got over-excited about the BBM app coming to Android/iOS. No specific availability date yet, stay tuned for details.’

BBM for Android is likely to be more feature-rich than its iOS-based counterpart, owing to the more open-nature of Google’s mobile platform, according to BlackBerry. And not all features will make the transition with the company keeping some BBM features exclusive to its hardware.

There will be chats (including multi-user chats), Groups and voice notes. Voice and video calls, channels plus screen sharing will be added later on.

Is this exciting? We think it is – BBM is a great service and we’ve been dreaming of it making its way over to iOS and Android for years.

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