Just when you thought things couldn’t get worse, there’s more new bad news for BlackBerry.
Hot on the heels of news that the firm is shedding 4,500 workers (approximately 40% of its workforce) and bleak financial results, it was hoping to reignite interest in the company by belatedly releasing its BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) service for free to iOS and Android users over the weekend.
However, the attempted roll-out of the apps to countries around the world has turned into yet another PR disaster, as the firm has been forced to halt the launch after “an unreleased version of the BBM for Android app was posted online”.
BlackBerry’s blog says that the “unreleased version” (an odd terminology, as it clearly *was* released by someone - but perhaps wasn’t supposed to be officially) caused “issues”.
Clearly these unelaborated “issues” were so serious that the firm felt compelled to also withdraw its app from the iOS app store, and suspend the roll out of it and its Android app until a later, undefined, date.
My guess is that BlackBerry may not have been able to cope with the spike of activity hitting its servers.
What seems, in part, to have tripped up BlackBerry is the poorly-policed free-and-easy Google Play Android app store, where multiple BBM apps, posing as official releases, appeared.
Unofficial download links to BBM for Android .APKs were also widely distributed on Android forums and social networks, where curious users were keen to try out the software.
BlackBerry says the unoffical release of its BBM app will be disabled, and that those people who did already manage to get their mitts on the iPhone version will be able to continue to use the service.
In time, BlackBerry says it will - eventually - roll out official versions of its Android and iOS BBM apps, in a staggered fashion.
Readers with good memories will recall that this isn’t the first time BlackBerry has had a headache with its Android app. Back in June, over 100,000 people downloaded a fake version of the app from the Google Play store - only to be hit by adware.
Most Android users assume that if an app is in the official Google Play store, it must be official and safe to install on their phone. The truth, sadly, is rather different.
Take care over what apps you install, read the app’s reviews and check that you are familiar with the developer. Ultimately, you get to decide what apps get to run on your Android phone.