BlackBerry announced the release of its BlackBerry Messenger iOS and Android app — long awaited, no less. The company says that users should see it appear in Google Play, the Apple App Store, and in select Samsung App Stores. It will be free to download.

An iOS version had previously begun making its public debut last month, but was quickly halted due to demand strain on its servers. As a result, BlackBerry also delayed the Android launch saying that it would “take some time” before it could get its affairs in order.

The company says that so far, 6 million people have signed up for information about the Messenger app and it touts that 1 million Android users were “using the unreleased version of BBM for Android.”

Here’s the roll out details from BlackBerry:

  • Download BlackBerry Messenger for Android or iPhone
  • Install the app, open it, and enter your email address
  • BlackBerry will email you when you’re next in line for access

If you managed to sign up on BlackBerry’s Messenger site, the company says that you’ll be able to use BBM immediately without waiting in line. However, it caveats that claim by saying “Samsung customers in Sub-Sahara Africa can download BBM today from the Samsung Apps store. iPhone and other Android users in Africa will be able to download the app in three days’ time.”

This is a bit of a complex process and there’s actually no telling how long one would have to wait in the queue. On the other hand, BlackBerry could tout to the world how many people have installed its apps — but the true metric is how many actually wait. If it’s days before access is granted, will people come back?

For some people, it’s pretty great to see BlackBerry’s Messenger app finally expand beyond its fledgling ecosystem, but for others, it’s just surprising that it took the app to become cross-platform. The release, marked by its botched launch attempt, comes at a time when there are many messaging alternatives in the Android and iOS marketplace, such as WhatsApp, iMessage, Google Talk, Skype, and others.

BlackBerry had previously said that the Android and iOS versions would be released on September 21 and 22, respectively. It took them a month longer to actually do it.

This is certainly good news for BlackBerry — and it definitely needs all that it can get. It has been plagued by severe layoffs and is in the process of potentially being acquired, rumored to be by a group led by Fairfax Financial or perhaps Lenovo.

See related: Hands-on with BlackBerry’s BBM app for iOS

➤ BlackBerry Messenger for iOS | Android

Photo credit: NIGEL TREBLIN/AFP/Getty Images

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