Back in early June this year, rumors began swirling that suggested that Blackberry Messenger (BBM) would be released on June 27th. These rumors were immediately shut down by BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) who voraciously denied that June 27th was to be the release date for either Android or iOS. Instead, “soon” and “this summer” replaced any specific date. The fact that the summer is winding down had many anticipating an imminent arrival, and today BlackBerry announced that they would begin sending invites for the Android beta of the popular messaging application.

BBRY Blackberry Research in Motion

BlackBerry Ltd (BBRY)’s BBM beta for limited users

“The BBM beta for Android users is a very limited program that includes BlackBerry employees and some invited friends and family,” a BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) spokeswoman said in an email to PCMag. “We have not announced plans to expand this beta at this time.” At this point, the BBM beta for iOS is still in internal testing, she added.

Having owned a BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) and my iPhone at the same time, I’ll confess to essentially shutting down my BlackBerry with the exception of BBM that I used to send voice messages to other Blackberry users free of charge. I liked that, and I liked the program. This, however, was a long time ago, and I fear that BlackBerry is just too late with this given the amount of free, cross-platform messaging apps like What’sApp, Line, Kakao, and a list too long to spend time with here.

BlackBerry Messenger beta for iOS features

When it eventually launches, BBM for iOS and Android will start with messaging and groups features, and will gain voice calling, screen sharing, and video calling later this year, BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) CEO Thorsten Heins said at the BlackBerry Live conference. Most believe that a full release is now imminent given this Android Beta version. Users will either need to be running a version of Android above 4.0 or iOS 6.

While myself and others just can’t see this making too many waves, I trust that I will download it. If they are able to accomplish for iOS and Android what they have done on its own platform, well that’s good. It’s a hardy messaging app and let’s face it any positive reviews can help a company that is on the cusp of disappearing. It’s equally important that they get it right or sales of its flagship phone the A10 will surely suffer when released later this year.