BlackBerry Postpones BBM For Android & iPhone, Blaming Leak

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BlackBerry has pushed back its BBM app for Android and iOS to an indefinite release date, citing issues caused by the unauthorized post last week of an older, unreleased version of the Andoid app on numerous file sharing sites.

Also last week, BlackBerry demo’d the new app at Pepcom’s Holiday Spectacular! press event in New York City, talking up intentions to release the Android version on September 21 and the iPhone version on September 22.

In a blog post on Monday, though, Andrew Bocking, head of BBM at BlackBerry, said that the old version of the app leaked last week “resulted in volumes of data traffic orders of magnitude higher than normal for each active user and impacted the system in abnormal ways.”

Added Bocking: “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. We attempted to address the problems caused by the unreleased version throughout the day on Saturday, but as active users of the unreleased app neared a million — and accelerated — it became clear that the only way to address the issue was to pause the rollout for both Android and iPhone.”

First Expected This Summer

The BBM messaging app has long been a major selling point for BlackBerry phones. Rumors of a possible impending app for Android and iOS first started surfacing early last year. In announcing the app at BlackBerry World in May of this year, BlackBerry mapped out plans to release the app over the summer.

The app for competing Android and iOS phones offers all of the same features as BBM for BlackBerry except video chat, a spokesperson said, during a demo for Brighthand at the Pepcom show.

Capabilities include multi-person chats, voice sharing, and BlackBerry Groups, for sharing calendars, photos and files among up to 30 people.

Bocking said in his blog post that BlackBerry is working hard to solve the problems caused by the leak and to get the Android and iPhone versions of the app out the door.

“The team is now focused on adjusting the system to completely block this unreleased version of the Android app when we go live with the official BBM for Android app. We are also making sure that the system is reinforced to handle this kind of scenario in the future. While this may sound like a simple task, it’s not. This will take some time and I do not anticipate launching this week,” according to the BlackBerry exec.

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