BlackBerry beefs up BBM for all

A man is silhouetted against a video screen with the Blackberry logo as he pose with a Blackberry Q10 in Zenica (Bosnia), in this file photo illustration taken on September 21, 2013. — Reuters pic
A man is silhouetted against a video screen with the Blackberry logo as he pose with a Blackberry Q10 in Zenica (Bosnia), in this file photo illustration taken on September 21, 2013. — Reuters pic

SAN DIEGO, April 4 — It may be a beleaguered handset maker, but BlackBerry’s doing all it can to make its apps and services remain in demand, and today it announced a new free update to its messaging app for all smartphone users.

The new features being added to BBM are of the mistake eradication kind and are therefore the type many Gmail users wished they’d had access to on April 1.

One of Google’s many April Fool’s Day pranks backfired when a ‘drop mic send’ feature that attached an animated Minion gif and prevented the Gmail user from receiving any replies from the sent message somehow overlaid itself on the ‘send’ button. It led to thousands of people accidentally sending inappropriate messages with no way of correcting the error or of knowing how the recipients felt about said error.

The BBM tweaks mean that whether on a BlackBerry, Android or iOS device, a message or image can be ‘retracted’ if sent in error and, like in Snapchat, make a missive ephemeral, setting a time limit on its existence.

Likewise, the company has added new controls in terms of location reporting. Users can decide whether or not to make their physical location public, and if so, for how long.

These features may sound less than new to long-time BBM users and that’s because until Today, they were offered as part of a premium settings package that required a US$12 (RM47) yearly subscription. But with huge competition within the social messaging sphere, BlackBerry has seen sense.

“Building on the renowned immediacy, reliability and security inherent to BBM, the new release provides unmatched level of privacy and control to BBM users without any subscription fees,” said Matthew Talbot, SVP, BBM at BlackBerry. “Keeping control over the messages and content that they share, BBM users can be ensured that what they share is always theirs to control.”

There are also platform-by-platform changes specific to operating system. For instance, iPhone and iPad users will be able to capture and share larger videos while Android users will notice support for Marshmallow.

BBM is available to download for iOS, Android and BlackBerry 10 Today but the updates may take up to 24 hours to appear. — AFP/Relaxnews

Related Articles