BlackBerry readies BBM for Android Gingerbread

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.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer on

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. 

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