BlackBerry readies BBM for Android Gingerbread

BlackBerry readies BBM for Android Gingerbread

Summary: BBM will soon support Gingerbread devices, clearing the way for the service to build on the 40 million non-BlackBerry devices it's gained in the past two months.

TOPICS: BlackBerry, Android

Android Gingerbread might be a few generations old but it's still widely-used and, according to BlackBerry, worth adding support for in its BBM messaging app.

BlackBerry announced on Tuesday that it will launch a special release of BBM for devices running on Gingerbread, Android versions 2.2.3 to 2.3.7. The company has been testing the app internally and is now moving to an external beta ahead of the official launch, expected in February.

The move is likely to help it raise user numbers in emerging markets where the company has been focussing its BBM efforts through, for example, a recent partnership with LG that will see the app pre-installed on some low-end smartphones destined for these markets.

BBM head of product Jeff Gadway said that Google's most recent Android distribution figures indicate Gingerbread, which was first released in late 2010, still runs on 21 percent of devices that connect to Google Play.

Though that's a large share of Android's massive pie, it's also down three percent from December

After a false start, BlackBerry released BBM for iOS and Android in October, and within a week added 20 million users to its existing BlackBerry installed-base of 60 million. The company on 20 December announced it had gained 40 million new BBM users on Android and iOS in the previous 60 days, suggesting its total users are over 100 million.

The company is yet to support Windows Phone. 

More on BBM

Topics: BlackBerry, Android

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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  • How many

    of the 20 million new BBM accounts are active and in use? I signed up because I have a family who live in Europe and the carribean that still use BBs, but I have chatted them my BBM user id and that's been it!