BlackBerry offers BBM to rival devices

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — BlackBerry maker Research In Motion says it will offer its once-popular BlackBerry Messenger service on competing devices.

CEO Thorsten Heins said Tuesday that the time is right to offer BBM on rival devices. He says iPhone and Android versions will be available for free.

RIM also unveiled a lower-cost BlackBerry aimed at consumers in emerging markets, stepping up its efforts to regain market share lost to Apple’s iPhone and Android devices powered by Google’s software.

Heins says the Q5 device will be available worldwide this summer. It is Research In Motion Ltd.’s third smartphone to run the new BlackBerry 10 system. The Q5 will have a physical keyboard, something that sets RIM’s devices apart from Apple’s iPhone and most Android phones.

He spoke at RIM’s annual conference in Orlando, Fla.

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