A new version of BBM will be available later today for Android, iPhone and BlackBerry customers, giving them lots of exciting new features. Android and iPhone customers will now be able to make free voice calls to BBM contacts over a Wi-Fi or data connection with BBM Voice(i), as well as access BBM Channels. In addition, BBM customers on Android, iPhone and BlackBerry(ii) smartphones will have more to chat about with fast one-click sharing of photos, documents, voice notes and more. BBM customers will also be able to share their live location for a specified amount of time with other BBM contacts by using location sharing, powered by Glympse, and will have 100 new emoticons available to help them say what’s on their mind.
“BBM continues to deliver new functionality as a premier messaging platform that provides a simple and effective way to stay connected. 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 favorite people and brands,” said John Sims, President, 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 Channels lets customers chat with other BBM users about topics that interest them. Customers can join channels about a range of topics from products, hobbies and sports to entertainment, fashion, cars and more. Channels can be created by brands, businesses and BBM customers alike and are a great way to communicate directly and immediately with people who share common interests in the broader BBM community.
By posting to their channel, channel owners immediately reach their subscribers with a message that can spark discussions. “Scheduled chat hours” allow BBM customers to have live chats with the channel owner – a great way to engage directly with their favorite channels one on one.
BBM Channels maintains the BBM core values of immediacy, privacy and control. Because BBM Channels live right inside BBM, BBM customers get notified the moment one of the channels they follow has a new post, or when someone responds to their comments.
With BBM Channels, customers can engage with brands or other customers without having to add them to their contact lists, thereby maintaining a high level of privacy. With BBM Channels, customers have the discretion to opt in only to channel brands that are relevant to them and always have control over the channels they subscribe to, while channel owners have control over how subscribers interact with their channel.
For brands and businesses, BBM Channels provides a new way to interact and connect with a highly engaged and targeted mobile audience. There are thousands of brands already using BBM Channels to engage with their customers. More on BBM Channels:
— Open, yet private. Channel owners control the conversation on their
channels. Channel owners can choose to: allow subscribers to comment on
posts freely or to approve them first; let subscribers chat with them
directly anytime, or set chat hours; they can interact with subscribers
without ever giving out personal details, or adding them as a personal
BBM Contact. And with private channels, channel owners can keep in touch
with closer circles on an invite-only basis.
— Channel reporting. Each channel has its own performance dashboard built
right in. Channel owners can see stats on how subscribers are engaging
with their channel, how many people have viewed each post and how the
subscriber base is growing.
— It’s fast and easy. Start a channel right from a BlackBerry, iPhone or
Android smartphone. It only takes a few minutes to set up a BBM Channel
and once it is set up, posting to it is as simple as choosing a photo
and adding a short message.
With location sharing powered by Glympse, customers can now share their real-time location with one or several BBM contacts for a specified amount of time – perfect for when people are running late, out with friends and more. BBM puts control in the customers’ hands, allowing them to specify how long they want to share their location for, by setting a timer. When the timer runs out the customers’ location becomes private again.
Built-in support for Dropbox(TM) makes it easy to send large files like presentations and videos. With Dropbox built in to BBM, you can send a file from your personal cloud directly to a BBM contact. On the receiving end, you can save the file directly to your smartphone or add it to your Dropbox account.
BBM customers have been asking for more emoticons, and now more than 100 new emoticons have been added to help you express yourself. Many of the new emoticons came from ideas submitted by customers!
BBM continues to connect friends, family and colleagues across a myriad of mobile networks, as the standard for mobile instant messaging with a fast, reliable, and engaging experience that puts control of privacy and personal information back in the customers’ hands.
(i) BBM customers and their contacts will need to have BBM Voice, a data plan and Wi-Fi coverage to make calls to each other. Data charges may apply.
(ii) The new version of BBM on BlackBerry (BBM v.10.3) will be available on BlackBerry 10. BlackBerry OS5 and above will also be updated but will not include location sharing or Dropbox integration. For a full list of the new features of BBM, please visit www.bbm.com.