BBM coming to Windows Phone, Nokia X

The messaging service will be available on the phones this summer

BlackBerry's mobile messaging service BBM will be available for Windows Phone and Nokia X users this summer, the company announced Monday during Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Nokia X and Windows Phone users will be able to make free voice calls over Wi-Fi or a mobile data connection between BBM contacts on Windows Phone, Nokia X, iPhone, Android and BlackBerry phones, the company said. They will also be able to chat one-on-one or in groups with up to 50 people and can share photos, documents and voice notes, among other things.

The service will be available as a free download from the Windows Phone Store this summer, BlackBerry said, adding that BBM for Nokia X, Nokia's new Android smartphone line for the low-end segment, will be available from the Nokia Store when the Nokia X platform launches.

Particularly in emerging markets we are going to see a lot of interest in BBM, said Stephen Elop, executive vice president for Devices & Services at Nokia during a news conference in Barcelona.

Currently, BBM is available for BlackBerry, iPhone and Android. The iPhone and Android apps were released in October after BlackBerry had trouble launching them in September. The original rollout was stopped after an unreleased, older version of the BBM for Android app was posted on numerous file sharing sites that resulted in higher volumes of data traffic than normal, which impacted the system, according to a blog post at the time.

In late October, BlackBerry said BBM had over 80 million active monthly users, including over 20 million new users on Android and iPhone devices.

BBM competes with a slew of similar free and paid messaging services that are available for smartphones. One of them, WhatsApp, is being acquired by Facebook for US$12 billion in shares, $4 billion in cash and $3 billion in stock options.

(Mikael Ricknas in Barcelona contributed to this report)

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

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