BlackBerry Messenger has officially been available on Android since late August, but because the app is only compatible with devices running Android 4.0 or higher, a sizable portion of the Android user base are unable to run the app. BlackBerry recognizes this, and as a result it's crafting a special version of BBM for Android hardware running older versions of the operating system.
BlackBerry announced today that it's prepping a version of its BBM app that'll be compatible with Android devices on Gingerbread version 2.3.3 and higher. The app is currently heading into an external beta test phase and is expected to be released to the public in February.
While it's no longer the most widely-used version of Android, Gingerbread still represents a pretty large chunk of the Android user base — Google's most recent version distribution numbers show that 21.2 percent of devices are on versions 2.3.3 through 2.3.7. Not only will releasing a special version of BBM for those users build some goodwill for BlackBerry, but it'll also make BBM available to a large set of new users and give BlackBerry the chance to grow its BBM user count even further than it already has with the BBM for Android and iOS apps.