BlackBerry has reportedly been working on a version of BlackBerry Messenger for Android for a few months now. The company has been in decline for several years, and may even be up for sale. That isn’t stopping development of the BBM for Android app, though. A user guide for the Android BBM app has appeared, courtesy of Polish tech site BBNews. It gives us our first glimpse at the app itself.
It’s not very often that Android apps get a full-fledged user guide to go with them, but it’s typical for BlackBerry. The manual doesn’t have any actual screenshots of the BBM for Android app, so we don’t get to see what it actually looks like yet. The user guide does go pretty in-depth with how to set up the app, navigate through it, and use the BlackBerry Messenger features. If you have ever used a BlackBerry device and messaged people using BBM, this will all look familiar. There’s not much new to see.
The Android BBM app has features like profiles, BBM groups, emoticons, and contact blocking. Some features are missing, most notably video calling, the BBM screen sharing option, and the new BBM channels feature. BlackBerry could add those features in a future app update. Some BBM features may stay exclusive to BlackBerry as a way to entice users to the platform. These features are all available in Google Hangouts. BBM is not the reason to switch mobile OS platforms, let’s be honest.
To get started with BBM for Android, you’ll need to have a BlackBerry ID. If you have ever signed in to the BlackBerry App World, you have a BlackBerry ID already. Once you sign in, all of your saved BBM data, like your contact list, will be available to you. Maybe you can track down your former BBM buddies and catch up on old times. If you don’t have an ID yet, you can create one. Then just sign in and you’re ready to start using the app.
You can find the BBM for Android User Guide here. BlackBerry has not announced an official release date for the BBM cross-platform app. They have promised that the app will be available by the end of September, but does anyone care?