BlackBerry has plans to make its popular BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) service available to rival phones, such as Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android devices. This messaging service is most popular for its security features and affordability. According to BlackBerry, BBM users are the most engaged audience of any group on such a service – sending more messages than other competing services such as WhatsApp and iMessage. As BlackBerry’s BBM user base is no longer growing, they figure it’s time to engage with a larger audience. With the global launch of BBM this summer, the stand alone app will require Apple’s iOS 6 or Android’s Ice Cream Sandwich OS for download, and will initially only provide users with the basic messaging and group features. Other BBM features, such as screen sharing and BBM voice, are expected to become available eventually.
In another attempt to increase BBM’s user base, BlackBerry has introduced BBM ‘Channels.’ Through this service the user creates a channel, which people can follow in order to receive updates. These channels send news/status updates to followers, allowing them to comment on them. ‘Channels’ is the newest addition to BBM, and will initially only be available on BlackBerry devices. These channels provide a way for companies to talk to larger groups of people, building an audience and allowing them to engage, ultimately expanding BBM’s user base.