Since BBM launched on Android and iOS last year, it seems that the service has proven much more popular than we all thought. With an influx of users heading to the service, we’re all wondering whether or not BlackBerry can keep the momentum going. With stiff competition from the likes of WhatsApp and LINE, it’s going to be difficult for BBM to ride on their branding for much longer. While BlackBerry refused to make BBM cross-platform, WhatsApp and others rose to dominate the market. Now, BBM is playing catchup. More features and such will definitely help BlackBerry’s messaging service gain ground, but one feature on the horizon might get the ire of carriers the world over.
Voice calling is said to be heading to BBM from next month, allowing users to essentially call each other using the service. VoIP services have been standard on smartphones for quite some time now, but we’re pretty sure the carriers still aren’t happy about them. To see an industry stalwart like BlackBerry introduce such a feature will probably be met with some contempt. We knew that it was coming for some time though, as the feature has appeared in Beta builds of the service and it is after all, the next logical step for any messaging service available these days.
If voice calls are the next logical step after instant messaging, then what comes after that? Well, that would of course be video calling, which is coming later on this year according to Krishnadeep Baruah, a senior VP at BlackBerry Asia Pacific. Video calling would put BlackBerry in competition with Apple’s FaceTime and of course, anyone else with a video calling service. If anyone has the scale to do such a thing however, it’s BlackBerry. While Hangouts seems to be the default video chat option for most Android users, a cross-platform implementation would be good for the company and could very well get everyday users talking about the brand once more.