After months-long back and forth, the horribly embattled Canadian smartphone maker BlackBerry, formerly Research In Motion, has announced that its BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) software has finally rolled out to iOS and Android devices today.
That’s bad news for those who haven’t signed up early at BBM.com as they will be forced to wait in line before they can use the app. On September 22, BlackBerry was forced to halt the planned roll-out of BBM for iOS after a leaked Android build had caused its servers to fold…
According to the official BlackBerry blog, upon installing and firing up the app, users will need to enter their email address in order to hold their spot in line.
“We will email you as soon as you reach the front of the line and can start using BBM,” reads the post by BBM head Andrew Bocking.
If you’re among the six million people who’d previously signed up through BBM.com, you can start using the instant messaging app immediately, BlackBerry said.
The 30.9MB download is optimized for the iPhone 5/5s/5c’s taller screen and requires an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch running iOS 6.0 or later.
The app lets you chat with friends on iPhone and other smartphones that run BBM and includes such features as multi-party chat and sharing and always-on connectivity.
The software lets you create your own BBM profile from scratch, share photos, files, documents, voice notes and more, use emoticons in chat messages, see when the other person is responding to your message via handy typing indicator, know when messages have been delivered (D’s) and read (R’s) and more.
If you’re creating a BBM profile in-app, you can even set animated GIFs for your profile image and of course update your status.
Additional privacy options allow you to control how to share your information by using PINs instead of phone numbers or email addresses (“so that it’s more private”). Plus, you always have full control of who can contact or message you.
As for group chat, BBM groups help you share pictures, lists and appointments with group members.
“You can even be in a group with people who aren’t part of your own BBM contact list,” notes BlackBerry. If you participate on a multi-person chat, BBM lets you send a message to multiple BBM contacts at one time.
Owners of iPhone and Android devices in Africa will be able to download the app in three days’ time. Samsung customers in Sub-Sahara Africa can download BBM today from the Samsung Apps store.
A million Android users installed the leaked version in just seven hours, per BlackBerry.
“What you don’t know is that more than one million people have found creative ways to side load BBM on their iPhone”, reads the post.
The company will publish another blog post tomorrow to provide us with an update on the line-up and to share “more detail about the work the team has done over the last several weeks”.
You can also follow @BBM on Twitter for updates on how quickly the line is moving.