BBM Coming to Android and iOS, for Free

Thorsten Heins saved his best announcement for the last. At a media event in Orlando, USA, where his company unveiled the BlackBerry Q5, Heins announced that BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), one of the most popular mobile messaging platforms, which has been one of BlackBerry's key distinguishing features, will be available to users of Android and iOS-driven smartphones. The biggest bite of them all, that it would be completely free.

The closest messaging platform to BBM is WhatsApp, and it's popular on both Android and iOS. BBM has been paid service on BlackBerry, although most of the newer models shipped with free one-year subscriptions, and yes, people do pay for it. BlackBerry claims it hustles 10 billion messages each day. "This is such a great experience, it is just too good to keep it only to ourselves. It's time to bring BBM to a greater audience," said Heins.

Heins didn't announce specifics, and we don't know how this would affect paid-subscriptions on BlackBerry phones, but at least we know WhatsApp and ChatOn have a huge competitor coming.