BBM brings Voice and Channels to iOS And Android and a number of new features to all platforms
iPhone and Android users of BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) will now be able to access social networking features and make free voice calls to other users, while all supported platforms will receive a number of other enhancements in the latest version of the instant messaging app.
BBM 2.0 should be available later today and include the BBM Channels and BBM Voice services that have been available to BlackBerry users since late last year.
Also on board is Dropbox integration that makes it easier to send documents and, crucially, 100 new emoticons and support for larger BBM Groups. Another new feature is timed location sharing, powered by Glympse, which lets users set a timer, after which their location becomes private once again.
“Today’s announcement gives Android and iPhone customers the rich experience of BBM Voice and BBM Channels – two great ways to connect with friends, family and colleagues, to build out communities around shared interests, and to follow your favourite people and brands,” said John Sims, president of Global Enterprise Solutions at BlackBerry.
“BBM continues to quickly evolve as a social mobile platform for consumers as well as for business customers through innovative features that give you great new ways to connect and share with each other.”
BBM has been a rare success story for struggling BlackBerry, with the cross platform release of the messaging service boosting user numbers to more than 80 million. Despite the success, Andrew Bocking, head of the BBM team, left the company earlier this week, with the division coming under the command of the recently-installed Sims.
Sims, the former president of SAP’s Mobile Services business, joined BlackBerry in January to spearhead the firm’s renewed push into the enterprise space. BlackBerry claims that 85 percent of its BlackBerry Enterprise Service (BES) customers use BBM to communicate across their companies, so although BBM will remain a separate unit within BlackBerry, in the future it could be linked more closely to its enterprise efforts.
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