BBM comes to Android Wear after hitting 100 million Android installs

BlackBerry has notched up 100 million BBM installations via Google Play and claims users have sent one billion stickers.

BlackBerry's multi-platform BBM app is turning out to be quite the hit for the company, this week passing 100 million installations on Google Play. While BlackBerry hasn't revealed installations on iOS and Windows Phone, it says the new Android milestone is "just a fraction of the total".

Whatever the overall figure, Android installations have grown significantly in the course of last year - BlackBerry said it had 60 million across all platforms at the end of 2013. Back then, installs via Google Play fell into the 10 to 50 million tranche, while in December of that year BlackBerry signed a deal with LG to pre-install BBM on its devices.

BlackBerry also claimed BBM users have sent more than one billion stickers, which it sells through the BBM Shop in the app.

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BlackBerry announced its 100 million Android milestone this week, following a busy week of launches at MWC show in Barcelona, where it revealed its new touchscreen handset, the Leap and teased a forthcoming touchscreen BlackBerry device with a slide-out keyboard, playing to fans of the physical Qwerty.

Besides BBM, BlackBerry has been demonstrating CEO John Chen's view the company's software assets are "a hidden gem" with launches like BES12 Cloud, new integration with Samsung's Knox security software, and being one of the first mobile device management vendors on board with Google's Android for Work program.

With Apple Watch set to be unveiled next Monday, BlackBerry has made its own move into wearables - not with its own device, but with the release of BBM for Android Wear. The company teased it at CES in January, announced it at MWC, and released it on Thursday.

The BBM app allows Android Wear users to receive alerts on their watch as they come in on BBM. Users can read and navigate among messages and dismiss notifications with a swipe. They'll also be able to use Google Now to respond to messages via voice and accept BBM invites from a Wear watch.

There's no word from BlackBerry whether it's integrating its iOS BBM app with Apple Watch, but given the high expectations for Apple's wearable it would seem a logical next step.

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