Android and iPhone users get BBM Voice & Channels

BlackBerry users are about to get some company – BBM Voice and BBM Channels, previously only available on BlackBerry handsets, are coming to iOS and Android.

BlackBerry launched BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) on the iOS and Android platforms, but that didn’t include BBM Voice. And when BBM Channels, a social marketing tool similar to Facebook pages, launched in November it was only available on BlackBerry handsets.

However, BlackBerry said Thursday that a new version of BBM will be available today for Android, iPhone and BlackBerry users that brings a bevy of new features, including extending Voice and Channels to the other platforms.

BBM Voice allows users to make free voice calls to other BBM contacts when they’re on a Wi-Fi or data channels. Channels allows users to follow a brand or a person who has created a BBM Channel, getting updates, commenting on shared content and asking questions, without becoming a connection on BBM.

New features for all users will include fast one-click sharing of photos, documents and voice notes with built-in DropBox support, 100 new emoticons, and the ability to share your live location for a specified amount of time with other BBM contacts by using location sharing, powered by Glympse.

“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, in a statement. “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.”

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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