BlackBerry introduced updates to the Android and iOS versions of its BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) app, as it looks to reinvigorate downloads after a strong start.
The update includes a raft of new features, bug fixes and performance improvements for both iOS and Android. The most notable update for iOS is that the BBM app is now available for the iPad and iPod running iOS 6 or iOS 7.
In addition, support for right-to-left languages has been added for iOS, along with more options to share users’ BBM PIN Barcodes, the ability to find friends on other social networks who are using BBM, and a fix for a bug causing some BBM contact names to go missing.
BBM for Android gains support for BBM Contact Categories, improvements to sorting and filter on BBM Group lists, and battery usage improvements. It also features the PIN Barcode and social network tools introduced for iOS.
Launched in October, BBM for Android and iOS was downloaded 10 million times in the first 24 hours of availability. It hit 20 million downloads after a week, by the end of which it had 80 million monthly active users, including those using it on BlackBerry devices.
During the first week of availability BBM was the top overall free app on Google Play in 35 countries and on Apple’s App Store in 107 countries. However, The Wall Street Journal noted that BBM is no longer in the top 50 App Store titles or top 100 in Google Play in the US.
BBM chief Andrew Bocking responded by saying the messaging service remains in the top 10 ranked apps in more than 60 countries for iOS and in 30 countries for Google Play.
Bocking previously said BlackBerry is looking to measure user engagement, such as conversations and connections being made on the service, rather than focusing on download numbers.
There are plans to introduce video calling and voice calling to Android and iOS in the coming months, along with BBM Channels for brands.
With BlackBerry in the midst of a strategic review which could potentially see it broken up or acquired, there have previously been reports that a spin-out of the BBM unit is a possibility.