After leak, BlackBerry yanks BBM from App Store, disables Android app

  • Liam Tung (CSO Online)
  • 23 September, 2013 12:06
Image credit: BlackBerry

Image credit: BlackBerry

BlackBerry has suspended the roll out of its messaging service BBM for iOS and Android after an unofficial Android version was leaked ahead of the scheduled release.

Owners of Android and iOS devices keen on using BBM will have to sit tight a little longer after BlackBerry on Saturday announced it was stalling its cross platform release, scheduled on Saturday for Android and on Sunday for iOS.

“Our teams continue to work around the clock to bring BBM to Android and iPhone, but only when it’s ready and we know it will live up to your expectations of BBM. We are pausing the global roll-out of BBM for Android and iPhone,” BlackBerry said via blog post on Saturday.

BlackBerry stalled the release after a leaked version of the Android version of the BBM app “caused issues” that it ended up spending Saturday dealing with.

BlackBerry did manage to commence the iOS roll out in some parts of the world, as scheduled, on Sunday, including Australia and New Zealand, however the app has now been removed from the App Store.

However iPhone owners who had installed the app already will be able to continue using the service, while the unreleased Android app has been disabled, according to BlackBerry.

Though the incident tripped up BlackBerry’s plans, it wasn’t all bad news. BlackBerry claimed the app had 1.1 million active users within the first eight hours of launching -- a positive sign that despite its late arrival as a messaging platform on iOS and Android, there could be a life for it outside of the troubled company.

BlackBerry hasn’t said when it plans to re-launch the app on either app market places and is urging customers to sign-up for updates here.

When it does reappear on app stores, iPhone and Android owners can expect some features of BBM that are available to BlackBerry owners, including BBM chat, file sharing, BBM Groups and Broadcast Message and BBM’s PIN -- a unique identifier within the app that enables messaging without the use of a phone number or email address.

But the PIN feature on BBM for Android and iOS is a privacy enhancement rather than the security feature available to BBM on BlackBerry devices, where the PIN is a hardware-based address. As BlackBerry explains in its support notes on the Android app, BBM app users won’t actually be able to do PIN to PIN messaging supported on BlackBerry hardware, which passes encrypted messages between BlackBerry devices through BlackBerry’s relay servers.

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