BlackBerry's messaging service will come preinstalled on LG smartphones, the two companies announced today. That starts with the G Pro Lite, a 5.5-inch Android handset announced in October. Bundling BBM with Android smartphones represents another major shift for BlackBerry as the company puts a greater focus on its services amid disappointing hardware sales. Explaining its own reasoning for the deal, LG points to BBM's widespread use across the Middle East, Africa, and Indonesia. “The LG G Pro Lite offers an optimized BBM experience with its large, high-quality display and embedded Stylus Pen," said Kevin Shin, VP of LG's Asia marketing.
It's currently unclear how long the deal will last, or whether other Android phone makers plan to follow LG's lead. BlackBerry last month said that it planned to make a concerted effort to get BBM on more hardware from third-party vendors. Despite an influx of competition from other chat services, it appears there's still significant demand for BlackBerry's mature offering; the company announced BBM racked up 10 million downloads in just 24 hours in October. In response to that show of support, BlackBerry has promised that BBM "will continue to evolve for Android and iPhone users in the coming months." When asked by The Verge, the company declined to share updated user numbers on BBM.