|Blackberry Messenger may be coming to Android and iOS devices.|
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Research In Motion ( RIMM) jumped over 4% to $68.47 in afternoon trading Thursday, after a new report claimed that it may be bringing its popular BlackBerry Messenger tool to third-party platforms. The Canadian handset maker may be making the app free to all users on Apple's ( AAPL - Get Report) iOS devices as well as Google ( GOOG - Get Report) Android phones sometime this year, according to tech blog Boy Genius Report.
BlackBerry Messenger (or "BBM") is a super-fast instant messenger client that allows BlackBerry users to communicate with one another. It also includes features like group chat, the ability to broadcast what music you're listening to and photo sharing. Contacts can only be added by sharing their phone's identifying PIN number, or by scanning someone's barcode through the device's camera. Allowing BBM to work across multiple platforms may be an attempt by RIM to better compete in the rapidly growing mobile chat space, the report said. Start-ups like WhatsApp, Kik and Beluga -- recently acquired by Facebook -- offer a similar product to BBM, but work across many devices. RIM has been rapidly losing global smartphone market share to Apple and Android. The company saw its slice of the market fall to 14.4% during the fourth quarter of 2010, from 20.0% during the year-ago period, according to industry tracker Canalys. --Written by Olivia Oran in New York. >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/Ozoran. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.