BBM will soon be available for Android phones running Gingerbread. This is a shockingly brilliant move which allows BBM to fully compete in developing countries where BBM is already an established brand, but current smartphones are still running the legacy operating system.
As Chris points out at Engadget, despite being generations old, Android 2.1.x Gingerbread still powers 21% of Android phones. A lot of those devices are located in emerging markets where new messaging apps, like WhatsApp, Line, and Facebook Messenger, are quickly gaining in popularity. Recent numbers suggest that BlackBerry cannot count on consumers in these markets, or any market for that matter, to jump on the BBM ship by buying one of its smartphones, so the company is making it available on competitors’ hardware.
As the current version of BlackBerry sinks into obscurity, a new BlackBerry is emerging. For better or worse, this version seems a bit more lean and focused. Today’s update to BlackBerry OS 10 feels like a company clearing its current product pipe as it moves away from the cut-throat consumer hardware market.
A public beta will be released prior to the full launch in late February.