BlackBerry: No BBM for iPad app at cross-platform launch

BlackBerry's BBM client for iOS and Android, due for release this summer, will not support the iPad at launch, the company has revealed, focusing instead on smartphones. The cross-platform BlackBerry Messenger support was announced on Tuesday on the first day of BlackBerry Live, but software portfolio chief Vivek Bhardwaj confirmed to Trusted Reviews that tablet support is relatively low on the agenda.

"At this point it is iOS and Android, and that's iOS phones running iOS 6 and higher" Bhardwaj said of the app. "Smartphone is our real focus and again it comes back to what BBM is. If you look BBM and the engagement and the activity, it's because it is mobile, because people are on the go."

Expanding BlackBerry Messenger support across rival platforms has been a long-rumored strategy for BlackBerry, though there's controversy around whether the decision will now be too little, too late. BlackBerry OS has dropped a place in the worldwide smartphone OS market share league, it was announced today, with Windows Phone taking third place instead.

Whether that will mean BBM for iPhone and Android works as a gateway drug of sorts, or merely as a route for BlackBerry owners looking to leave the platform behind and yet still keep in touch with old friends on a new device, remains to be seen.

Even without a dedicated iPad version, that's not to say iPad and iPad mini owners won't be able to access the iPhone BBM app. However, they'll be stuck using screen-doubling until BlackBerry gets around to coding up a tablet-specific interface, and there's no telling when that will actually happen.

Still, there's at least a hint that such support is in the pipeline, as well as other form-factors where BBM could roost, beyond mobile. "I think when you look at things like Smart TVs and desktops, those are definitely areas for exploration," Bhardwaj teased.

IMAGE: BlackBerry Blog