Next 5 million in line – your turn!

That was the tweet that appeared at 10:16 pm last night on the official BlackBerry Messenger Twitter account when downloads of the iOS and Android version of BlackBerry Ltd.’s instant messaging application hit the five million mark shortly after it was made available to the public.

“The demand for BBM on Android and BBM on iPhone continues to be amazing,” wrote Andrew Bocking, executive vice-president for software product management and ecosystem at BlackBerry in a post on BlackBerry.com. “About six million people signed up for information about BBM at BBM.com.”

He also said that in just seven hours about one million Android users were using the “unreleased version of BBM for Android.”

It was a rare shot of good news for the troubled Waterloo, Ont. smart phone which still faces an uncertain future after reporting last month a loss of US$965 million largely due to unsold inventory. BlackBerry has already reached tentative $4.7 billion buyout deal with Canadian insurance firm Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd.

To manage the “unprecedented pent up demand” Bocking said BlackBerry was implementing a line-up system to enable a smooth roll-out of BBM:

1. Download BBM – Visit BBM.com from your Android or iPhone browser
2. Once you install the app, open it, and enter your email address to hold your spot in line
3. You will get an email as soon as you reach the front of the line and can start using BBM

Those that took the time to sign up in advance for the app on BBM.com before the release can start using BBM immediately without waiting in line.

Last week, BlackBerry announced that it will offer BBM as a free download in the Google Play Store for Android and in Apple Inc.’s App Store for iPhones over the weekend.

The apps were actually supposed to debut in September. That launch was delayed after an Android version was prematurely leaked online before BlackBerry could officially release one.

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