BlackBerry has halted the planned rollout of their BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) app for iPhone and Android, and pulled it from those regional App Stores that already launched it, like New Zealand. BlackBerry blamed the situation on server-side problems that resulted from a version of the Android app being leaked online. That reportedly generated 1.1 million downloads, which does show interest, but also highlights how real-world scale is different than anything you see in the labs. Here’s the official announcement from BlackBerry:
Prior to launching BBM for Android, an unreleased version of the BBM for Android app was posted online. The interest and enthusiasm we have seen already – more than 1.1 million active users in the first 8 hours without even launching the official Android app – is incredible. Consequently, this unreleased version caused issues, which we have attempted to address throughout the day.
Our teams continue to work around the clock to bring BBM to Android and iPhone, but only when it’s ready and we know it will live up to your expectations of BBM. We are pausing the global roll-out of BBM for Android and iPhone. Customers who have already downloaded BBM for iPhone will be able to continue to use BBM. The unreleased Android app will be disabled, and customers who downloaded it should visit http://www.BBM.com to register for updates on official BBM for Android availability.
As soon as we are able, we will begin a staggered country roll-out of BBM for Android and continue the roll-out of BBM for iPhone. Please follow @BBM on Twitter for the latest updates and go to http://www.BBM.com to sign-up for updates about BBM for Android and iPhone. These issues have not impacted BBM service for BlackBerry.
There is way too much face to palm here. BlackBerry obviously know how important this launch is, but a) there doesn’t appear to have been any wide scale beta test, which shows a terrifying lack of appreciation for the freight-train that is iOS and Android user bases, b) they hadn’t even compiled BBM for iOS 7, which shows a terrifying lack of attention to detail for a platform that prides itself on just that attention.
I desperately want BlackBerry to nail BBM’s multi-platform launch. I don’t want to be more desperate about it than the people building the app. So, to make the best of a shitty situation, fix the app, get an expedited review, and then come back with something great for everyone who went from BlackBerry to iPhone and wants their BBM back, and for every potential iPhone owner still looking for a great IM experience that could be won over.