BBM Android app

BBM to be preinstalled on Android phones

Amidst poor handset sales, BlackBerry is continuing to focus on promoting BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) across multiple operating systems. The company has agreed a significant deal with LG, which will see BBM preinstalled on the Android-based LG G Pro Lite.

The deal follows news last month that BlackBerry reached agreements with a number of Asian smartphone makers for BBM to be preinstalled on a variety of budget Android handsets. Although none of the manufacturers in question are particularly well known outside their own continent, Asia offers the potential for rapid growth, given it is a huge market for low cost Android phones.

The approach being taken by BlackBerry isn’t anything unusual. Recently Twitter agreed a deal with one of Europe’s largest telecommunications companies, which will see its app and widget being preinstalled on Android smartphones.

From an app developer’s perspective, this type of arrangement is probably worth pursuing. App store usage patterns show that phone and tablet owners have a tendency to use the services that are bundled with their device, even when a wide variety of alternatives are available.

It is unlikely that adoption rates will be anywhere near the levels seen with app stores, however. Nearly all smartphone and tablet users want to download apps, but they won’t necessarily want an instant messaging client.

And although preinstalling apps may lead to many users having a look out of curiosity, in the case of IM, much will depend on what their friends are using.

There will be concerns too that Android devices will soon become as packed with bloatware as Windows PCs. Thankfully, though, uninstalling unwanted apps isn’t particularly time consuming, and Android’s clever in-built memory management should prevent anything that runs in the background from significantly slowing down devices.