BlackBerry Messenger for Windows Phone is officially available through Microsoft's Windows Phone store, but you'll have to be part of the beta tester program to give it a spin.
Appearing in the Windows Phone Store, the app is currently in beta mode, so it's not yet ready for prime time. The only people who can take it for a test run are those who were quick enough to sign up for BlackBerry's BBM for Windows Phone beta program. Unfortunately, that program quickly filled up shortly after being introduced late last week.
Hit by hard times in the mobile phone market, BlackBerry has been on a mission to expand its horizons in other areas of business. One of those areas is BlackBerry Messenger. The free chatting and voice calling app extended its reach to iOS and Android late last year. That move added more than 40 million registered users to the total BBM population by the end of 2013. Promising further expansion of the app, BBM product and marketing chief Jeff Gadway said in February that a Windows Phone version would be out sometime this summer.
People who signed up for the beta program can install the app, but beware of bugs. As a limited beta product, BBM for Windows Phone already comes with some known issues, according to blog site WinBeta. An email sent to beta testers outlined the following problems:
- Invites and acceptances don't send when Windows Phone goes out of Wi-Fi coverage.
- A few newer emoticons are not rendering properly (i.e *brrrr*, and *flex* and @-@).
- Windows Phone shows as available for BBM Voice call although feature is not supported (seen on Android and iOS, not BlackBerry 10).
- Error popup appears when using "Find Friends" and the "OK" button is selected.
- Suggested Contacts tab only shows users already using BBM, but lists them as potential contacts when BBM is initially launched.
As more users test it, more bugs will likely surface. People who run the app through its paces are encouraged to share their findings via the BlackBerry Beta Zone.
So just how long might it take BBM for Windows Phone to evolve beyond beta mode? A BlackBerry spokeswoman sent CNET the following statement last week:
"We are excited by the interest we have seen from the Windows Phone community for BBM for Windows. We are currently at capacity for the beta and will be working through our waitlist. The good news is Windows Phone customers won't have to wait long; BBM for Windows Phone will be available shortly."