Yesterday at its BlackBerry Live 2013 conference, the Canadian manufacturer announced that it was finally opening up its BlackBerry Messenger service to rival platforms iOS and Android. This move has been rumored for quite some time now, it was considered almost inevitable as BBM’s market share is continuously being eroded by other cross platform messaging services such as Viber and WhatsApp. The company clarified that despite supporting devices running iOS 6 and higher, there will be no native BBM for iPad support at launch.

Vivek Bhardwaj, head of BlackBerry Software Portfolio, said at the conference that at this point in time, BBM will only be available for Android and iPhone/iPod touch devices capable of running iOS 6 firmware or higher. He added that “smartphone is our real focus,” though he didn’t exactly rule out the future prospects of BBM being available for Apple’s hugely popular tablet. It should be noted that even the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet doesn’t have native BBM support, it needs to be tethered to a BlackBerry smartphone to use BBM. This goes to show that the company firmly believes that BBM’s core target is smartphones and not tablets right now.

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