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BlackBerry explains BBM for Android, iPhone delay

27 September 2013, 08:45 Duncan Alfreds

Cape Town - BlackBerry has paused the rollout of its instant messaging platform on Android and iOS because of an unreleased version that impacted on data traffic, the company said.

BBM for Android powered smartphones and iPhones was meant to be released by 22 September, but many users were not able to access the software and others were exposed to fraudulent applications.

BlackBerry said that it was aware of an unreleased version of BBM being available for Android.

"We were aware of an issue with this unreleased version of the BBM for Android app. This older version resulted in volumes of data traffic orders of magnitude higher than normal for each active user and impacted the system in abnormal ways," said Andrew Bocking, head of BBM at BlackBerry.

He said that the company was not able to block users on the unreleased version and that the company decided to suspend the rollout.


"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," said Bocking.

The company said that its team is trying to remedy the situation by ensuring that enough capacity exits to prevent the problem.

"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," Bocking said.

He added that the revised date for the release of BBM would probably be pushed back significantly, though there were no specifics.

"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."

The BBM service also has to fight for relevance as cross-platform applications like WeChat and Whatsapp grow their user base.

BBM has around 60 million active users and the expansion of the service is seen as a way to expand the appetite for BlackBerry services as the company comes under pressure on its mobile device sales.

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