BlackBerry brings BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) to Android and iOS devices

BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins shared during the opening keynote of BlackBerry World, the smartphone maker’s annual developer event that it is bringing BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), its proprietary messaging platform, to Android and iOS devices. This is a significant strategy shift that could drive cross-adoption and enhance utility and relevancy of the brand.

For those unfamiliar with BBM, it uses carrier data networks to pass secure messages back and forth through its servers to other BlackBerry users. The service now offers the ability to make phone calls, conduct video chats and share screen views with other BBM users holding the new BlackBerry 10.

Heins told the enthusiastic audience that BBM for Android and iOS will be free.  Features loaded into the Android and iOS BBM apps at launch will include normal chat and group chats, followed by voice and video over the next few months.