The BBM chat application for Android and iPhone was downloaded more than 10 million times in its first 24 hours, as BlackBerry overcomes initial launch setbacks.


Having always previously been a BlackBerry exclusive, BBM for Android and iOS was first released on 21 and 22 September respectively, but the apps were quickly pulled after problems arose. Over one million Android users however downloaded a fake version of BBM which leaked through various file sharing websites.

The applications were fixed and launched again this week on 21 October, clocking up more than 10 million downloads worldwide in the first day.

BlackBerry's Andrew Bocking said on the company's official blog: "I want to thank our customers - old and new - our employees, and our partners for their enthusiasm and commitment. BBM is looking great on iPhone, Android and BlackBerry, and the team here is very excited about the success of this launch."

Bocking also revealed that the BBM app for iPhone was the top ranked free app on Apple's App Store across 75 countries during those first 24 hours, including in the UK, US, Canada, and "most of the Middle East."

Overwhelmingly positive

The app has received "overwhelmingly positive" reviews, with 60,000 five-star reviews on the Google Play store from around 87,000 users who chose to leave a review during the first day.

BBM is arguably the most valuable part of BlackBerry, as the company is currently looking for a buyer interested in acquiring either the company as a whole, or breaking it up and taking whatever is deemed to be of value.

Currently, the phone maker has a tentative £3 billion offer from Fairfax Financial Holdings of Canada, and has until 4 November to seek a higher offer before the process of accepting the buyout can begin - a process that could conclude before the end of 2013. However, reports this week claim Chinese computer maker Lenovo is also considering a bid for the company, and co-founders Mike Lazaridis and Douglas Fregin have also expressed an interest.

Referring to the botched launch a month earlier, Bocking said: "When we saw almost one million people install an unreleased version of the Android version, another million use workarounds to download BBM onto their iPhone and another six million people pre-register to know when BBM became available for iPhone and Android, we knew we were on to something huge."


Although these figures are undeniably impressive, the pressure will now be on for BlackBerry to sustain the momentum of the first 24 hours. Ten million users is good for one day, but pales in comparison to WhatsApp, which has more than 300 million active users on all major smartphone platforms, who share 325 million photos every day.

As mobile chatting applications go, both services are dwarfed by Facebook, which has more than 800 million monthly active users on mobile alone, with an extra 200 million-plus accessing via a desktop web browsing each month.

To build on the 10 million users gained so far, Bocking outlines plans for the BBM app's future, saying the Canadian company is "committed to delivering a BBM experience on iPhone and Android...equal to that on BlackBerry 10."

Bocking continues: "This means bringing BBM Video, BBM Voice and BBM Channels to Android and iPhone customers too. My team is still committed to bringing those features to BBM on Android and iPhone in the near future. And we're not stopping there - we have some great new features planned that will build on BBM as the private social network you count on for immediate conversations you can control and trust."