TORONTO Kik Interactive, an instant messaging service startup against which Research In Motion launched a lawsuit last year, is testing a new version of software that can be used on RIM's BlackBerry smartphones, Kik's founder said on Thursday.
The Kik Messenger service - which has been available for Apple's iPhone and devices running Google's Android software for more than a year - was pulled from RIM's app store in November and RIM launched its suit a month later.
In its court filing, RIM said Kik founder and Chief Executive Ted Livingston used knowledge gleaned while working on development of BlackBerry Messenger to create Kik Messenger.
Livingston declined comment on the ongoing lawsuit but said the new application was not built specifically for BlackBerry phones and would also work on so-called feature phones, cheaper devices that typically use the Java coding language.
"We wanted it to be a secret so we'd get some feedback before it went to a wider audience, but we have a version that's built for Java that works on BlackBerry phones," Livingston told Reuters in a phone interview on Thursday.
"None of it is unique to BlackBerry so we don't see what the possible problem could be," he said.
The Kik service, much like RIM's BlackBerry Messenger, allows users to see when a message has been sent, delivered, read and when it is being replied to in real-time.
But unlike BlackBerry Messenger, or BBM as it is popularly known, the Kik product allows chatter across platforms.
RIM says some 45 million people use BBM and 70 percent of them use it daily. Kik boasts 4 million users. It had 2.5 million, including 1 million BlackBerry users, when RIM sued.
Livingston said the new app has not yet been submitted for inclusion in RIM's App World catalog. The beta version is available for download at Kik's website. (here)
(Reporting by Alastair Sharp; editing by Peter Galloway)