Research In Motion (RIM) will be launching BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) on Android and iPhone. The announcement was made yesterday during the BlackBerry Live 2013 conference in Orlando, Florida. iPhone and Android users are going to be able to download this service for free and hop on the crazed BBM bandwagon. Twitter and Facebook are abuzz with the news and excitement over the long-awaited (maybe dreaded by some) integration.

There are debates on whether the whole thing is genius or just desperation, but it is beyond any doubt that users will find it convenient and easy to keep in touch with friends. The app will be free on all platforms, but users may not like the idea of in-app advertising. BlackBerry is huge in South Africa and other developing countries where functionality and affordability are key, so this might be seen as a good move by local smartphone users.

The Business Insider reports Blackberry CEO, Thorsten Heins saying, “It’s time to bring BBM to a greater audience. I cannot wait for the day when all our BlackBerry fans can send BBM invites to all their friends on other platforms. They have asked us for this for years.”
The expansion of BBM to non-BlackBerry devices might just be the push BlackBerry needs and it will definitely make a difference in the world of instant messaging.

We’re still not sure how BBM going across platforms will be received by BlackBerry’s rivals, as iPhone and Android are considered the major smartphone brands along with Blackberry, but consumers will definitely be happy to be able to engage with all their friends on the famed instant messaging service, regardless of what smartphone they have. BlackBerry also plans on adding BBM Channels, allowing the user to connect with brands, to the BBM package. This is a big step in social media considering the number of people the service will be available to, and BlackBerry is confident that this bold step will push them in the right direction in terms of social networking innovation.

What do you think about RIM’s plan to introduce in-app advertising? BBM might have interesting possibilities for mobile marketing in the near future.

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