BBM to come preloaded on LG smartphones under new partnership with BlackBerry

19 December 2013, 10:43 am EST By Alexandra Burlacu Mobile & Apps

BlackBerry has signed an agreement with LG under which the latter's smartphones will come pre-loaded with BlackBerry Messenger (BBM).

The first smartphone to debut with BBM under this new agreement will be the LG Pro Lite, but others are expected to follow afterwards.

"BBM is widely used throughout the Middle East, Africa and Indonesia where smartphone users tend to engage heavily in social networking," said Kevin Shin, Vice President of Marketing for Asia, the Middle East and CIS countries of LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company, in a press release on Wednesday, Dec. 18. "The LG Pro Lite offers an optimized BBM experience with its large, high quality display and embedded Stylus Pen."

"People across the globe are using BBM to connect with each other and the enthusiasm has been phenomenal," added Andrew Bocking, Executive Vice President for BBM at BlackBerry. "We're extremely pleased that LG Electronics will help bring their customers a more seamless experience with BBM by preloading the app, starting with the G Pro Lite in key markets."

The agreement between BlackBerry and LG covers both standard and virtual preloading, which will be carried out via the LG App Manager. The app will also continue to be available through app stores, including Google Play.

While BlackBerry might be sinking, its BBM has proved to be very popular with consumers. There are several messaging applications out there, but BBM sets itself apart by using a separate PIN instead of users' email IDs or phone numbers. Moreover, the cross-platform app also allows one-to-one chats as well as group conversations, and it also features delivered and read status.

The new agreement with LG follows similar partnerships BlackBerry made with Android device makers that are popular in emerging markets. Just last month, the Canadian company announced agreements with several Indian smartphone makers, including Spice, Micromax, and Zen. BlackBerry also teamed up with Samsung earlier this year so that Galaxy owners in Africa would get early access to BBM. The two companies have integrated the app into Samsung's messaging hub.

The new partnership with LG also shows that BlackBerry may still have a future that's not as grim as a bankruptcy court. BlackBerry may never regain the place it once held on the smartphone market, but it can still make some good money in global communication and enterprise infrastructure. 

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