BlackBerry and Samsung team up over BBM, marketing in Africa

BlackBerry and Samsung team up over BBM, marketing in Africa

Summary: BBM for Android will be in Samsung's Apps store at launch, thanks to a new marketing partnership to grow the family.

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TOPICS: BlackBerry, Samsung
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Smartphone manufacturers Samsung and BlackBerry have teamed up to announce a new marketing partnership across Africa. As part of the arrangement, Samsung has said that it will include the BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) for Android app in its curated app store for Galaxy handsets, alongside its own ChatOn service.

BBM will form part of the Samsung Messaging Hub that comes preinstalled on all of the South Korean firm's Android smartphones. The BBM for Android app is still in a closed beta testing stage, but BlackBerry says that it will be available in the Samsung Apps store on launch day.

"We believe that BBM has the potential to become the number one messaging client around the globe," BlackBerry's managing director for South and Southern Africa, Alexandra Zagury, told ZDNet, "and Samsung is the leading Android manufacturer in Africa. We think we've found a great partner to grow the BBM family.

"Android is absolutely a key platform for us to grow BBM in the future."

Zagury said that she expects this initial arrangement to grow to cover other areas of collaboration between the two firms.

She also confirmed that the deal is not an exclusive arrangement and that BBM for Android will also be available through Google's Play store at the same time.

The instant messaging landscape is changing rapidly across Africa, and according to a recent report by analysts at Strategy Worx there are an estimated 10 million WhatsApp subscribers in South Africa alone. The continent is also being heavily targetted by Tencent's WeChat, which is already more popular as a mobile app than Skype in China and has around 400m users worldwide.

South African media group Naspers has a sizeable stake in Tencent, and also operates South Africa's most popular website, News 24. Since officially launching WeChat in South Africa in March, Naspers claims that it has grown the service's users threefold. In addition, local social media services such as Mxit and Binu retain a dedicated user base.

BlackBerry, meanwhile, remains the most popular smartphone brand in South Africa, but faces the challenge of user migration as data bundles with the new BB10 handsets aren't as competitively priced as the BlackBerry Internet Services (BIS) that were provided with previous phones.

Topics: BlackBerry, Samsung

Adam Oxford

About Adam Oxford

Adam Oxford is the editor-in-chief of htxt.co.za, a South African tech blog that covers issues from around the country and the continent beyond. Based in Johannesburg but originally from the UK, he's written for most of the major technology publishers over the last 17 years, covering everything from PC gaming to photography to Linux to open data and emerging tech markets.

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5 comments
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  • Data bundles

    I didn't realize you needed a special data bundle for the BB10 OS smartphones. How is the data bundle for them any different than for an Android or iOS phone?
    Susan Antony
    • ...Data bundles

      You don't need a BIS account for Internet service like legacy devices. This would only be specific for certain account types and certain locations e.g. Africa. Also the "data bundle" is BlackBerry Internet Service which provides email and Internet access through their infrastructure. What was stated was: "but faces the challenge of user migration as data bundles with the new BB10 handsets aren't as competitively priced as the BlackBerry Internet Services (BIS) that were provided with previous phones". So the issue is with users migrating from BIS to new (carrier specific) data plans which can be a bit more expensive.
      MrNodoz
  • thanks but no thanks

    the last thing i need is another bb app on the Google play store or ios store.. bbm is a joke now and i made the blackberry 7 and tested 10 for 2 months and made the switch to a iPhone-test device and a android phone as a main device and never looking back and im glad i did as they are running out of options very fast and Sept 27 will be the determining factor for survival in the smartphone war... just die already bb we have no use of you anymore. and the last thing i need is bbm on a samsung phone..
    ITGuy000
    • Funny retrofan116

      You obviously have never taken advantage of BBM nor used any of the BlackBerry 10 devices for a worthy amount of time. BBM even on an old buggy BB OS 7 is still a great communicating tool.
      MrNodoz
  • BlackBerry and Samsung team up

    Thanks for the info Adam!
    MrNodoz