BlackBerry Limited, formerly known as Research in Motion, finally launched its BlackBerry Messenger apps for Android phones (Google Play) and Apple's iPhone (iTunes). But don't expect to start using the service right after installation: users must first wait in line so that the network servers aren't slammed with traffic... at least for right now, anyway.
"The demand for BBM on Android and BBM on iPhone continues to be amazing. About six million people signed up for information about BBM at BBM.com," reads the BlackBerry blog. "As you know, in just seven hours, about one million Android users were using the unreleased version of BBM for Android. What you don’t know is that more than one million people have found creative ways to 'side load' BBM on their iPhone. This is incredible."
Back in September, an older version of the Android app managed to land on numerous file sharing sites, which resulted in volumes of traffic "orders of magnitude higher than normal" for each active user, and impacted the system in "abnormal" ways. The version to be officially released addressed these issues, but BlackBerry would be unable to block the faulty apps, used by millions and growing, if the launch commenced.
"The team is now focused on adjusting the system to completely block this unreleased version of the Android app when we go live with the official BBM for Android app," said Andrew Bocking, head of BBM, last month. "We are also making sure that the system is reinforced to handle this kind of scenario in the future. While this may sound like a simple task – it’s not. This will take some time and I do not anticipate launching this week."
Now both the Android and iPhone apps have gone live. After installation, users are currently required to submit their email address to hold their spot in line. BlackBerry will email users as soon as their place on the network has opened up. For those who already signed up at bbm.com, they should be able to use the messaging app immediately without waiting in line.
"If you didn’t sign up in advance, don’t worry – we are focused on moving millions of customers through the line as fast as possible," reads the BlackBerry blog. "Our team of developers and engineers has been working around the clock to bring you BBM – and make some upgrades while we’re at it – and some incredible work has been done. I look forward to sharing more of this with you here, on Inside BlackBerry, soon."
Previously BlackBerry Messenger, BBM, had been an exclusive service to BlackBerry phones. But the company announced back in May that the chat client would also be offered on Android phones and iPhones. Each user has a unique PIN that must be given to others in order to communicate, similar to a friend code on a Nintendo product.