Mobile Devices

September 24, 2013

BlackBerry Delays Rollout of BBM for Android, iOS for at Least One Week

It will take at least a week for BlackBerry to resume its rollout of BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) to iPhone and Android operating systems.

The delay comes after an unofficial version of the BBM for Android app was posted online. Even though it involved the unofficial version, 1.1 million active users signed up in eight hours, BlackBerry said.

The older version was found on file sharing sites, which led to data traffic “issues,” the blog post adds.

The issues could not be cleared and "it became clear that the only way to address the issue was to pause the rollout for both Android and iPhone," Andrew Bocking, head of BBM, wrote on the BlackBerry blog.

“This older version resulted in volumes of data traffic orders of magnitude higher than normal for each active user and impacted the system in abnormal ways,” Bocking added. “The version we were planning to release on Saturday addressed these issues, however we could not block users of the unreleased version if we went ahead with the launch.”

“I do not anticipate launching this week,” he added in the blog post.

The BlackBerry blog post also noted the “interest and enthusiasm” for the unofficial Android app – calling it “incredible.”

More details come from speculation by tech specialists.

"What seems, in part, to have tripped up BlackBerry is the poorly-policed free-and-easy Google Play Android app store, where multiple BBM apps, posing as official releases, appeared," Graham Cluley, a tech security specialist, told The Telegraph. "Most Android users assume that if an app is in the official Google Play store, it must be official and safe to install on their phone. The truth, sadly, is rather different."

The recent issues also come after word that BlackBerry will lay off 40 percent of its employees. That represents some 4,500 jobs. The company also expects losses of close to $1 billion in Q2. On Monday, BlackBerry announced it agreed to be acquired by Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited for $4.7 billion.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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