BlackBerry releasing BBM for iOS and Android this weekend, new 5-inch smartphone

Embattled smartphone giant BlackBerry has officially announced the release of BlackBerry Messenger for iOS and Android, along with a new flagship smartphone called the Z30.

The company has announced BBM will be available as a free download for users of Android 4.x (Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean) from September 21 and for iPhones running iOS6 and iOS7 on September 22.

Aside from PIN-protected instant messages and status updates, BBM will also allow file-sharing of photos and voice notes.

BlackBerry has also announced the release of a new smartphone running BlackBerry 10.2, which supersedes the Z10 as the company’s flagship all-touch smartphone.

The new device – the BlackBerry Z30 – features a 5-inch super AMOLED display, 2880 mAh battery, stereo speakers and a Paratek antenna, which the company claims will boost signal strength and data transfer rates in low-coverage areas.

The BlackBerry Z30 will also be the first smartphone to receive an update to BlackBerry 10.2, with key new features including the ability to run Android apps (albeit not through Google Play), the ability to check BBM messages from any app and prioritised notifications in the BlackBerry Hub.

In a statement the company has announced the update to BlackBerry 10.2 will also be rolled out to users of its Z10, Q10 and Q5 devices through October.

The company promises to roll out the new smartphone through selected carriers and retailers in the UK and Middle East from next week, with other regions receiving the device in the lead-up to Christmas.

However, the release of the new products comes as the Wall Street Journal reports plans by the company to slash its worldwide workforce by 40% by the end of the year.

These cuts come on top of the 5000 jobs cut by the company last year, which saw its global workforce plummet from over 17,000 two years ago to just 12,700 in March of this year.

The latest news comes amid a sales process that the company expects to be wrapped up by November.


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