BBM now up for Windows Phone, but you'll have to wait in line

Windows Phone users who want to take BlackBerry Messenger for a spin will have to cool their heels a bit.

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The beta of BlackBerry Messenger has officially landed for Windows Phone, but that still doesn't mean you can just reach out and grab it.

The BBM for Windows beta sailed its way into the Windows Phone Store earlier this week as a private beta, meaning by invitation only. The beta program has now opened up further but is still limited.

Expanding BlackBerry Messenger to other platforms has been part of BlackBerry's strategy for keeping its products alive. The free chatting and voice calling app expanded to iOS and Android late last year after some initial hiccups. Those versions added more than 40 million registered users to the total BBM population by the end of 2013. In February, BBM product and marketing chief Jeff Gadway promised a Windows Phone version for this summer. Yes, it has arrived, but you may not be able to get it so easily.

BlackBerry has set up a BBM for Windows Phone Beta registration page where you must log in with a BlackBerry ID and also a BlackBerry Beta Zone account in order to test the app. But as of Friday morning, the page said that the registration program is already full. At this point, signing up just adds you to a wait list so that presumably you'll be informed if and when any spaces open up.

The registration form doesn't provide any further details on when the beta may open further. BlackBerry is likely trying to restrict the program to a certain number of manageable testers before creating a more public beta.

Just how long will it take for BBM to reach all Windows Phone users? A BlackBerry spokeswoman sent CNET the following statement:

"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."

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.

 

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