RIM is apparently readying Android and iOS versions of its BlackBerry Messenger app, in an attempt to lure smartphone users over to its handsets with a cut-down taste of the instant messaging service. According to BGR's multiple sources, exact timescales for release are uncertain - though expected to be sometime in 2011 - but the BBM apps will offer basic IM functionality leaving the more advanced media and location sharing features to authentic BlackBerry devices.
That might mean you could hold a text IM conversation between a BlackBerry user, an Android user and an iOS user, but only those with BlackBerry phones would be able to share multimedia like photos or their physical location. Pricing for the service is also apparently not finalized; RIM is believed to be considering making it all free, or alternatively charging either a download fee for the apps themselves or an ongoing subscription for service.
It's not the first we've heard of RIM considering loosening its borders in the hope of making a bigger dent in the consumer market. The company is believed to be considering adding Android app compatibility to its BlackBerry PlayBook tablet and smartphones, instantly increasing the number of titles available for its users.