BlackBerry's ubiquitous messenger, BBM was launched almost 2 months ago on non-BlackBerry devices – especially the Android and iOS ecosystems. Since then, BlackBerry has stated that the messenger service has been installed over 40 million times by both iOS and Android users. Even though BBM is now available on non-Blackberry devices, the service is not as robust as it is on a BlackBerry 10 smartphone. BlackBerry now wishes to change this and provide a unified BBM experience across devices, come 2014.
In an update on the official BlackBerry blog, Sean Hungerford, Product Manager for BBM has confirmed that early next year iOS and Android users of BBM would be receiving updates to the app, which would be bringing in some features which have so far been exclusive to BlackBerry 10 devices. BBM Voice Chat is being touted as a more secure alternative to the Skypes, iMessages and Hangouts of the world. Using BBM Voice Chat, Android and iOS users would get another method to make free voice calls, this time with BBM.
The other feature being touted to be released is BBM Channels -a social media community platform for BBM users, wherein users can subscribe to communities based on their interests. Hungerford further clarifies that BBM will receive updates which provides minor improvements to sharing of voice notes, location, photos as well as receiving a whole new set of emoticons. It seems BlackBerry is adamant on acquiring fresh users to their BBM service.
Their latest strategy of allowing the BBM service outside of their platform and onto Android and iOS seems to be paying off. With 40 million users in just 60 days, and BlackBerry's new CEO John Chen's plans of providing the "BlackBerry Experience" on Android, things are looking good for them in the future. The first step has already been initiated, we have news that "a dozen" manufactures have agreed to pre-load BBM on their devices; however the news is so far confirmed only from the LG camp.
Despite the push BlackBerry intends for BBM, and the fact that 40 million iOS and Android users are already rocking BBM notwithstanding, competition in the messengers' arena is tough. Google's Hangouts, Microsoft's Skype, Whatsapp and others already crowd this space.
Given a choice, would you shift over completely to BBM or giving up on Whatsapp and Hangouts too tough for you? Shout it out in the comments below.