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BlackBerry restarts rollout of BBM for iPhone, Android

BlackBerry Ltd. says it's back on track and is resuming the rollout of its popular chat app for iPhone and Android devices.

"In the next few hours, people will start seeing BBM in Google Play, the App Store and in select Samsung App Stores – where it will be free to download," BlackBerry's Andrew Bocking, who runs BBM, said Monday on its official blog.

"The demand for BBM on Android and BBM on iPhone continues to be amazing," he added.

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"About 6 million people signed up for information about BBM at BBM.com. As you know, in just seven hours, about 1 million Android users were using the unreleased version of BBM for Android. What you don't know is that more than 1 million people have found creative ways to 'side load' BBM on their iPhone. This is incredible."

The rollout of the BBM app for rival smartphones suffered a setback in late September when an unreleased version for Android was posted online.

BlackBerry today unveiled a "simple line-up system" for the rollout to help manage the "pent-up" demand.

That involves downloading BBM, entering an e-mail address after installing the app to "hold your spot in line," and awaiting an e-mail from BlackBerry that will let users know when they're at the front of that line.

Those who signed up ahead of time won't have that wait.

And, Mr. Bocking told those wanting BBM, "if you didn't sign up in advance, don't worry – we are focused on moving millions of customers through the line as fast as possible."

BlackBerry, of course, is in the midst of an auction for all or part of the company. It has signed a letter of intent with Canada's Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. for a $4.7-billion (U.S.) deal that would pay shareholders $9 a share.

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Other parties have expressed interest, however, including U.S. private equity firm Cerberus, China's Lenovo Group and BlackBerry co-founders Mike Laziridis and Doug Fregin.

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About the Author
Report on Business News Editor

Michael Babad is a Report on Business editor and co-author of three business books. He has been with Report on Business for several years, and has also been a reporter and editor at The Toronto Star, The Financial Post and United Press International. His articles have appeared in major newspapers around the world. More

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