Alongside ongoing efforts to reignite hardware sales, BlackBerry is making a significant effort to build out its services business, tapping old rivals such as LG to pre-install its BBM messaging client.
The South Korean hardware maker revealed on Wednesday it will begin selling some models in its smartphone range with BBM preloaded. Under the agreement, LG will bundle BlackBerry's cross-platform messaging app on the devices using its LG App Manager.
The first device under the new bundling agreement will be the G Pro Lite phablet, LG said. According to the company, BBM remains popular in the Middle East, Africa and Indonesia — all areas where the LG budget phablet ships to.
The G Pro Lite is the 5.5-inch lower-specced sibling of LG's G Pro, which trades in 4G for 3G, and comes with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage. The device was launched in October for Latina America, Asia, Russia, India, China and the Middle East with an expected non-contract price of $300.
The LG deal follows similar hardware tie-ups with Android device makers popular in emerging markets. Last month it announced agreements with several Indian smartphone makers, including Micromax, Spice and Zen.
Earlier this year it teamed up with Samsung to give Galaxy owners in Africa early access to the app, which the pair have integrated into Samsung's Messaging Hub.
BlackBerry claimed at the time of BBM for Android and iOS' launch that it had added 20 million new users within one week, bringing its total user-base to 80 million. The company hasn't given an update since, but Google Play currently lists the app as having between 10 million and 50 million installs.