From ABC News:

After years of keeping its once-very-popular messaging system confined to just its phones, this Saturday, Sept. 21 BlackBerry will finally release its BlackBerry Messenger or BBM for the iPhone and Android. The news comes on the heels of reports that the struggling phone maker will lay off up to 40 percent of its employees before the end of the year.

For the most part, the app will work just as it does on current BlackBerry phones. It will allow users to send messages to their friends or groups of friends without using up text messages. The messaging platform, however, once very popular with BlackBerry users, now has steep competition from other popular chat apps that are out for multiple mobile platforms, including Kik and WhatsApp.

But analysts, while they applaud BlackBerry’s move to more widely distribute services, say it comes late, similar to the company’s other late moves.

“If it’s something they should have done earlier, it is pretty far down the list of things they should have done earlier,” Ross Rubin, principal analyst at Rectile Research, told ABC News.

“Clearly the world was a different place during BBM’s ascendancy and RIM saw BBM as a competitive platform advantage. Now, as customers are fleeing the platform, it’s a way for them to maintain a relationship with those former users and plant a seed that might grow into a business should it exit hardware or even leave its OS behind,” Rubin added.

A small but committed group of writers, bloggers and videographers that (mostly) exist and function all over the D.C. Metro area.