BlackBerry Messenger relaunches for Android, iPhone after month delay

But some BBM users say they get errors when downloading

Nearly a month after problems delayed release of its BlackBerry Messenger apps for iPhone and Android, BlackBerry said it had relaunched the app on Monday.

Immediately after the relaunch, which occurred about 2:30 p.m. ET, some BBM customers, including CIO.com blogger Al Sacco tweeted that BBM wasn't working. (An hour later, BlackBerry said the BBM service was working well.).

According to a BlackBerry blog posted earlier Monday, BBM would be made available in Google Play, Apple's App Store and some Samsung App Stores for free.

There's just one catch: People who didn't pre-register to get BBM must install the app, enter an email address and then wait for the rollout. About 6 million people signed up at BBM.com and can start using BBM immediately without waiting in line.

Earlier this year, BlackBerry said about 60 million users were on BBM over BlackBerry devices only.

The extension of BBM to iPhone and Android platforms was to have taken place on Sept. 21 but was stopped a few hours later when an unreleased version of BBM for Android app caused data traffic volumes to soar and affected the overall system, BlackBerry said in a blog at the time.

The delay in taking BBM to Android and iPhone came at an awkward time, since BlackBerry has boasted how successful its BBM has been in reaching young users over the social network. The timing was such that on Sept. 20, a day before the pause in the rollout, BlackBerry announced it would take a nearly $1 billion write-off in its second fiscal quarter because of poor smartphone sales -- especially the Z10 -- and would lay off 4,500 workers.

Since that time, Fairfax Financial Holdings has reached a preliminary deal to buy BlackBerry for $4.7 billion. The deal is still expected to close by Nov. 4, but other bidders have also come forward. They include two founders of BlackBerry, and reportedly PC maker Lenovo and private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management.

Information on how fast the line is moving will appear on Twitter by following @BBM.

This article, BBM relaunches for Android and iPhone after month delay, was originally published at Computerworld.com.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His email address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

See more by Matt Hamblen on Computerworld.com.

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