BBM Channels and BBM Voice coming soon for Android and iOS: Report

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BlackBerry is planning to complete the features on its BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) app for the rival Android and iOS platforms, and reportedly, this will be very soon. BBM went live on the rival platforms as a free app in October 2013, however at that point, the Canadian mobile manufacturer had not made all the BBM services available, most notably BBM Voice, BBM Channels (introduced for BB10 OS in November), and BBM Video.

Very soon, however, this is reported to change. Perhaps as early as February, BlackBerry will introduce the BBM Voice and BBM Channels on both the iOS and Android platforms. Krishnadeep Baruah, Senior Director, Channel Marketing Asia Pacific at BlackBerry, says that with BBM there is a continual focus on security and privacy, while at the same time, BlackBerry is looking at opening it up for a wider user base across the rank and file of people, worldwide.

BBM Voice is a BBM-based service where users can make voice calls to other BBM users the world over without any additional charges. The BBM Channels is for users to form a group and interact on a social platform, and is useful for both corporates and individuals. BBM Video is a video chat service tied in with BBM, however, the latest report speculating on the launch of BBM Voice and BBM Channels for Android and iOS does not make a mention BBM Video, leading us to believe it will not arrive on the rival platforms in the same period.

In October 2013, when the BBM app was launched, it reached 10 million downloads on the very first day of it going free on Android and iOS. It had over 20 million downloads in the first week. By December, last year, it had reached 40 million downloads worldwide. In addition to the BBM Voice and the BBM Channels, BlackBerry had at the time of the Android and iOS announced it will also will also make BBM services like easy file and photo sharing, Dropbox integration, voice notes and location services available on its own platforms, apart from Android and iOS. It is speculated that even the launch for these services could be very soon.

All said and done, it is interesting to note that BlackBerry is still shying away from the Windows Phone. BlackBerry had earlier commented that the Windows Phone platform would only be looked into when the user group reaches significant numbers. However, with reports of the user base for Windows Phone increasing, even if only marginally, it would be interesting to see when services for it would begin.

Notably, BlackBerry introduced new features in an update for BBM for Android and iOS in November, which are listed below:

BBM for Android changes (November update):

Support for BBM Contact Categories

BBM Group List sorting and filtering improvements

More options for sharing your BBM PIN Barcode

Find your friends on other social networks who are also using BBM

Addresses an issue where some users may have experienced higher battery use

BBM for iOS changes (November update):

Support for iPod touch and iPad devices running iOS6 and iOS7

Improvements to right-to-left language support

More options for sharing your BBM PIN Barcode

Find your friends on other social networks who are also using BBM

Fixes an issue where some users would be missing BBM contact names

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