BlackBerry released its BBM messaging app for the older Gingerbread version of Android, as it continues its efforts to increase usage of the service.
According to Google, around 20 per cent of Android users globally are running Gingerbread, with the vast majority on the subsequent Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean versions.
Writing on the Inside BlackBerry blog, Jeff Gadway, head of product and brand marketing for BBM, said the launch not only allows people with slightly older Android devices to use the service, but also means current users can communicate with more people via the app.
BlackBerry last week updated BBM for Android and iOS, with the addition of the BBM Voice support and BBM Channels for brands.
BBM Voice allows users to make free calls to BBM contacts over Wi-Fi or a mobile data connection, while BBM Channels provides a way for users to interact with brands, communities and celebrities with profiles on the BBM platform.
Andrew Bocking, the executive VP of the BBM messaging service, left BlackBerry last week, with the product moving to the company’s Global Enterprise Solutions division – suggesting BlackBerry is trying to align the messaging service more with its enterprise focus.
The company said the BBM organisation will continue to focus on messaging, as well as “new areas of strength such as mobile marketing, community-building and enterprise messaging”.
The ailing Canadian vendor launched BBM for iOS and Android in October 2013, seeing 20 million downloads in the first week of availability to reach 80 million monthly active users.