BBM For Android Release Date Hype: 100,000 Tricked Into Installing Fake App

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A fake app called “blackberry messenger bbm” was downloaded more than 100,000 times before being pulled from Google Play. The phony BBM client installed adware after tricking Android users looking for the official cross-platform release of BBM, or BlackBerry Messenger -- highlighting the risks of Google’s “unmoderated” policy regarding Android apps.

The counterfeit BBM for Android release first displayed a screen after installation that said it wouldn't work until June 27 and then asked users to agree to the installation of adware from a company called StartApp. This was a clever play on the release date that T-Mobile UK had “leaked” on Twitter, a claim that BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) later denied as false.

BlackBerry's official release of BBM for Android and iPhone isn't expected until "later this summer," the company said, explaining that the exact release date will depend on when the app is accepted by the Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) Store and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Play. CNET UK reports the app was submitted by a developer calling itself RIM, as Research In Motion Ltd. was formerly known. In January, the company changed its name to BlackBerry, the name of its popular electronic device.

Unlike Apple's iOS store, the Google Play Android app store isn't moderated. Google Play’s open policy of allowing anyone to develop and release an app for its platform means Android users need to be vigilant about what apps they download. Checking recent reviews can help determine if an app delivers what it promises.

The official release of BBM for iOS and Android will allow users across multiple mobile platforms to send messages over their data connection rather than through standard text messages -- utilizing the data connection will save money for many users of prepaid plans and those who pay extra for SMS service. The BBM service is also touted by BlackBerry as being much faster than standard texts, with single messages as long as 2,000 characters.

BBM for Android and iPhone will also offer notifications when a message is delivered and read, much like its BB10 counterparts. It also has a video and voice chat feature, with voice-calls only working over Wi-Fi.

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