Hey, remember when BlackBerry was going to officially roll out BBM for iOS and Android a few weekends ago only to be stymied by technical issues? At the time it was yet another dark mark on BlackBerry’s already sketchy record, but things are finally starting to look up. The company confirmed on its Inside BlackBerry blog that the messaging app will go live in the Android and iOS app stores for new users once more at some point today.
It’s a good thing, too. Considering the sorts of troubles that BlackBerry has been dealing with lately, it’s a little heartening to see that the company has finally managed to iron out the wrinkles with one of its biggest cross-platform pushes in recent memory. If you happen to be one of the six million (!) people who threw your name into the “I Want BBM” hat, you’ll be able to start using the apps right away. Unfortunately, the rest of us will be stuck a queue waiting for our turn to really use the apps, though the company noted that it was we “focused on moving millions of customers through the line as fast as possible.”
Curiously enough, BlackBerry also crowed about the fact that over 1 million Android users had installed an iffy pre-release version of the application. To be fair that’s a pretty significant indicator of demand, but those people are also partially to blame for the BBM delay as a whole — that early version of the app generated amounts of data traffic that BBM head Andrew Bocking said was “orders of magnitude higher than normal for each active user”, and at the time there was no way to launch a new, fixed version of the app without effectively screwing over all of the people who installed the illicit version.
That not-so-little issue has apparently been cleared up though, but BlackBerry has offered little guidance on what sort of wait times interested users will have to endure before they can start BBMing each other. We’ll soon see how annoying this process really is, but in Blackberry’s defense, it really can’t afford to botch this whole thing a second time. A slow, manageable trickle of new users is definitely a nice change of pace from the damning traction seen at the end of September, but there are still plenty of potential problems BBM still has to face — think WhatsApp, Viber, Voxer, Google Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, Line, Kakaotalk, and all those other entrenched messaging apps. The path to continued relevance is a tricky one, but at least BBM is finally ready to leave the gate.