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BlackBerry to Bring Popular 'BBM' App to Android and iOS Devices Starting this summer, non-BlackBerry smartphone users will be able to use the instant messaging tool.

By Jason Fell

The Tech Block

If you're one of the many smartphone users who made the jump from a BlackBerry to an iPhone or Android device, one feature you might be missing most is BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), which allows you to instant message with other BlackBerry users. Or, perhaps, it's the one reason you've decided to stay with BlackBerry since other operating systems don't offer it.

Either way, that's about to change. BlackBerry announced today that it is bringing BBM to Android and iOS devices. BlackBerry said the app will support iOS6 and Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) or higher. It should be available sometime this summer, pending approval from the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Related: BlackBerry's New OS, Smartphones: What's in it for Business Users?

With the BBM app, Android and iPhone users will be able to send and receive multi-person chats and share photos and voice notes. Another feature, called BBM Groups, allows users to organize their contacts into specific groups of up to 30 people.

It's a big move for business users who prefer the immediacy of messaging over the internet -- as BBM does -- compared to texting, which can be slower and eats up data on your mobile plan. It will also allow individuals to expand their pool of family, friends and colleagues with whom they will be able to send instant messages over their smartphones.

BlackBerry also announced BBM Channels. Like LinkedIn's new Channels feature, it allows BlackBerry users to follow the businesses, brands, celebrities and groups they are most interested in.

Related: Beyond Smartphones: Mobile Innovation That Could Change the Way You Do Business

Jason Fell

Entrepreneur Staff

Former Managing Editor

Jason Fell is the former managing editor of Entrepreneur.com.

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