BlackBerry to soon offer BBM on Android 2.3 Gingerbread smartphones

Even though Gingerbread's days of glory have long passed, the three-year old distribution is still running on more than 20 percent of all Android devices accessing Google Play. Those are smartphones actively used by people across the globe, which will not receive an upgrade to a newer version of the mobile operating system.

This presents a problem for BlackBerry. The Canadian maker wants to increase the user base of its BBM service, but the app available on Google Play is only compatible with smartphones that are running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and newer. BBM for Android does not even work on tablets, unlike its iOS counterpart. Luckily for those stuck on Gingerbread that is shortly set to change.

BlackBerry has announced that a new version of the BBM app will be offered "soon" on Google Play, which will introduce compatibility with Android 2.3 Gingerbread-based smartphones (the minimum supported version is 2.3.3).

"The team at BBM has been busy in the kitchen over the last few months cooking up this special release of BBM for Android smartphones running Gingerbread and are now moving into an external beta ahead of the launch in February", says BlackBerry. "We couldn’t be more excited, too! Supporting Gingerbread will allow millions more Android users to download the popular BBM instant messaging app".

The company has not revealed exactly how interested users can join the beta program, which likely means we can expect to learn more once the app with Gingerbread support launches.

BlackBerry officially launched BBM for Android and iOS in late-October of last year. The apps quickly amassed more than 10 million downloads on Apple App Store and Google Play in their first 24 hours of availability.

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