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Mobile Apps

BlackBerry hints at redesign for BBM iOS, Android apps

BlackBerry's president says to expect a more native app experience for BlackBerry Messenger on iOS and Android.

BBM's iOS (left) and Android (right) apps. BlackBerry

BlackBerry's BBM applications for Apple's iOS and Google's Android operating systems appear headed for a makeover at some point down the road.

During a Q&A at Tuesday's BlackBerry Security Summit, blog site N4BB asked BlackBerry President John Sims about the future look of the iOS and Android versions of BlackBerry Messenger, the company's free chatting and voice calling app. Released last October, both versions added more than 40 million registered users to the total BBM population by the time 2013 was over.

In responding to N4BB, Sims said he disagreed with previous management who felt that the BBM app should have the same look across all the platforms. The BBM apps for iOS and Android don't exactly look and feel like iOS and Android apps. Instead, they take their design cues more from the native BBM client that runs on BlackBerry 10. That may be vexing and even confusing to users who are accustomed to the way apps are specifically designed for and function on iOS and Android.

So does that mean a visual overhaul is in order for both versions? Apparently so.

Sims cited the new BBM app for Windows Phone, pointing out that it's designed for the Windows Phone environment so that it's familiar and comfortable to users of Microsoft's mobile OS. He said the same should hold true for the iOS and Android versions.

The BBM experience on iPhone and Android "needs to be more of a native app experience," Sims said, according to N4BB. "You can expect to see that manifest itself in our Android and iPhone BBM apps."

Sims didn't spill any details on when BBM for iOS and Android may undergo a redesign. BlackBerry has continued to add more features to both versions, but the apps themselves have gone almost ten months without any interface changes. A makeover is something that should be high on BlackBerry's priority list at this point.