BlackBerry Messenger Boosts Features for iOS and Android

BlackBerry is out with version 2.0 of its increasingly popular BlackBerry Messenger social communication software. The new version brings to iOS and Android devices the Voice and Channels capabilities that BlackBerry device owners already have, and may enhance the business appeal of the product.

The Voice feature allows free voice calls to be made over Wi-Fi or a data connection, for conversations with other BBM users. As a free service, it may appeal to smaller companies that are intent on keeping their communications costs down.

Channels are topic-based chat rooms that a user or a business can set up. Specific times can be scheduled for a channel's followers to chat with the channel's owner, such as a business or brand, and followers are kept updated about new posts or replies to comments. Channel owners can also track performance through a dashboard and, if they allow commenting, can pre-approve them.

At Least 100 Million

Other features included in 2.0: easier photo sharing, dozens of new emoticons, support for the online file sharing service Dropbox, larger BBM groups, and a location-sharing function that can be limited by a time set by the user.

The Canadian company is finding an enthusiasm for BBM that it has not been able to stimulate for its BlackBerry 10 smartphones. When the iOS/Android versions were first released in October, for instance, the company reported 10 million downloads in the first 24 hours.

By BlackBerry's released figures, there are at least 100 million users for the service. However, that may considerably shortchange the current total because the company has not updated the total of iOS/Android users since the end of December -- about 40 million -- or the BlackBerry-based users since the middle of last year. Some BlackBerry-watchers have estimated that BBM will boast at least 150 million users by the end of...

Comments are closed.