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BlackBerry announced on Monday at its 2013 BlackBerry Live keynote address that it will finally be releasing it Blackberry Messenger (BBM) for iPhone and Android over the summer.

Up until now, the popular BBM service has been exclusively available only on BlackBerry-branded phones. The existing app allows users to bypass calling, text-message and data charges by communicating using text, photos, videos, and voice on WiFi, similar to other popular apps such as iMessage and WhatsApp Better Than Text Messages & Free - WhatsApp For Android Reviewed Better Than Text Messages & Free - WhatsApp For Android Reviewed A moment of introspection, please: What do you do more often - call people using your phone, or text them? I would bet it's the latter. For many people, texting is more convenient than calling.... Read More . By offering this app as a cross-platform service, users of almost all types of smartphones will be able to seamlessly communicate with each other.

“We’re committed to making the BBM experience on other platforms as fully featured as we can,” said BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins. “We’ll start with messaging and groups, but we’ll add voice and screen share later on. … BB10 is such a strong platform that we are confident it can become an independent messaging solution.”

With that said, the app will only allow for messaging functions for iPhone and Android. Heins has obviously alluded to potential updates, but since the app is targeted at the current iOS 6 and Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0), it’s possible that the company is going to wait for phone OS upgrades.

Some say that Blackberry is behind the curve when it comes to this release. Other WiFi-oriented messaging apps exist, and services like Viber Viber: Call & Text Other Users For Free [iPhone] Viber: Call & Text Other Users For Free [iPhone] Free calling and texting for your iPhone. Yep. It's real. With Viber, that's exactly what you get since it works through whatever WiFi connection you happen to be using. This gives you one more reason... Read More already allow for VoIP calls. However, it’s possible that the name “Blackberry” alone will reel in users.

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Will you use BlackBerry Messenger for your iPhone or Android smartphone? Do you think the company was late to the game?

Source: All Things D

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