iPhone and Android users will gain access to mobile giant BlackBerry's popular messaging service BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) for the first time this summer, the company has announced.
More than 51 million BlackBerry users communicate daily via BBM, one of the earliest mobile chat tools to give users a free and private means of staying in touch over the internet.
Andrew Bocking, an Executive Vice President at BlackBerry said in a blog post: "For BlackBerry, messaging and collaboration are inseparable from the mobile experience, and the time is definitely right for BBM to become a multi-platform mobile service.
"BBM has always been one of the most engaging services for BlackBerry customers, enabling them to easily connect while maintaining a valued level of personal privacy. We’re excited to offer iOS and Android users the possibility to join the BBM community."
BBM will compete with other free messaging services already available to smartphone users running the iOS and Android operating systems, including WhatsApp and Viber.
The necessity of a personal PIN to use BBM, supplied with BlackBerry's phones and shared only with contacts with whom users wish to communicate, is one of BlackBerry smartphones' most attractive aspects.
Mr Bocking's comments may imply the BBM PIN will remain a feature in the apps now being developed for iOS and Android.
iOS 6, the operating system run by iPhone and iPad, and Android's Ice Cream Sandwich smartphone software will be the first to run the free app, according to the Business Insider website.
Another motive of attracting more users to Blackberry and its BBM, just after the launch of the Blackberry Q5 - (A budget version of Blackberry's flagship Q10 device , a smartphone targeted at emerging markets in Asia and the Middle East.)