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BBM for Android and iOS release delays explained by BlackBerry employee

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Following the recent delays to the BBM for Android app, a BlackBerry support team member has explained a little more about why it and the BBM iOS apps have been postponed.

The BBM Android app release was pushed back after a version of the BBM client was leaked onto Google Play, causing a raft of ‘fake’ copycat apps to appear on the store.

Speaking directly with TrustedReviews, a member of BlackBerry’s product support team has explained that the original leak of the BBM app for Android likely came from one of the mobile phone networks. They stated: “One week before we launched BBM as cross-platform, every one of the carriers that I spoke to said 'can I have the app, please?' We went back to the guys at Canada [BlackBerry HQ] and they said, “it’s a really closed beta”…  and if you send the beta out instead of putting it into stores, what will happen is it will get out there.

“Guess what, it got out there. Somebody did that, somebody launched it onto Google Play. And it went ballistic.”

The BlackBerry employee went on to explain that one of the key problems was that it was an “early Beta version” that was leaked, rather than the one intended for release. “We had 1.1 million users in a matter of eight hours. We had to stop that, or it would have gotten out of hand,” he explained, “The problem is Google’s space – you’ve got no control and we learnt our lesson big time with that.”

That the wrong version of BBM for Android was leaked wasn’t the only problem to surface. The surge in interest also alerted BlackBerry to potential server load issues.

“We’ve got 70 million users, 60 million on BBM. The way BBM works is quite different to Whatsapp or the other apps. People are more engaged with it, will use it a lot more. We reckon most people who have it use it for two hours a time – per day," the BlackBerry representative told us.

“The engagement rate is massive… If you get that number of people coming on-board, with the data traffic that implies – we’ve got to do massive testing… With the {beta} version we picked up some problems with scalability.”

BlackBerry’s Product Support team member suggested that the roll-out of BBM for Android and iOS will need to be more measured. “First of all we have to figure out what happened. Then they’ve got to pull out... You’ve then got to retrench and say, we’ve got a million users, we’ll let them on the system, and then not let anyone else on it.”

He suggested that huge interest in BBM for other platforms would create “enough pressure” to see a wider release, although had no more updates on a more exact revised release date.

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