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Report: BlackBerry Messenger to launch on Android and iOS devices

by Brad Spirrison

Research in Motion (RIMM) is planning “stripped down” versions of its popular BlackBerry Messenger app to owners of Android and iOS devices, according to a report from industry publication BGR.

While BlackBerry Messenger is currently an exclusive offering to BlackBerry owners, and a key point of differentiation, expansion into other platforms would accommodate the demands of users who want to message friends and contacts who own smartphones and tablets on other platforms. Advanced features including the ability to share photos, location and video, according to BGR, will likely not be available.

By unleashing its own branded application to iOS and Android users, RIM can combat cross-platform competitors like WhatsApp Messenger and Kik Messenger from encroaching on its services.

A similar messaging service called Beluga has also been generating lively interest in the Android Market. That company just found itself acquired by Facebook, as the social networking giant also aims to ramp up its messaging and chat services.

Earlier this week, it was reported that a RIM executive at Mobile World Congress last month revealed that the upcoming BlackBerry PlayBook tablet -- scheduled to come out April 10 -- will support Android apps.

Stay tuned.