BlackBerry has delivered on a promise made to BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) users back in January, when they had declared that a special release of their iconic messenger service was in the works – especially for the older Android 2.3.X Gingerbread toting devices. In the latest blog release, BlackBerry has declared that the BBM app is now available for download from the Google Play store, effective today. Alternately, you can visit BBM.com from your Gingerbread smartphone.
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The latest Android distribution numbers released by Google, point out that still almost 20 percent of Android devices are stuck on the ageing Android 2.3.X Gingerbread iteration. However this smart move by BlackBerry ensures that their BBM app would have a chance to be downloaded and used by a wider audience base. Existing BBM users can now check if their friends on Gingerbread have installed BBM by checking out the “Find Friends” feature which is found under the “Invites” in the bottom left hand corner of the BBM app.
However, in January, when BlackBerry had announced this special version of the messenger app there was no information imparted which could clarify what was special with this impending release. A previous leaked version had omitted BBM Channels – a social media community platform for BBM users, wherein users can subscribe to communities based on their interests. Unfortunately, no change-log for this latest update has been posted by BlackBerry – instead their Google Play change-log lists “Support for Android Gingerbread smartphones (v2.3.x)” under the What’s New heading.
BlackBerry’s ubiquitous messenger, BBM was launched in October last year for non-BlackBerry devices – especially the Android and iOS ecosystems. Since then, BlackBerry has stated that the messenger service has been installed over 40 million times by both iOS and Android users. Despite the push BlackBerry intends for BBM, and the fact that 40 million iOS and Android users are already rocking BBM notwithstanding, competition in the messengers’ arena is tough. Google’s Hangouts, Microsoft’s Skype, Whatsapp and others already crowd this space.
What needs to be seen is whether with this latest update, how much benefit BlackBerry derives in terms of increased app downloads. If you rock a Gingerbread handset and have downloaded the latest BBM, do let us know any unique features that you find out. Our comments section can be found below.