updated 12:24 pm EST, Thu February 13, 2014
Free voice calls between BBM users reaches non-BlackBerry OS devices
BlackBerry is rolling out a number of changes to its BlackBerry Messenger app for iOS and Android, as the app reaches version 2.0. BBM Voice and BBM Channels, two features already in use by BlackBerry device owners, are included in the update along with Dropbox integration, and a collection of smaller updates to the app.
BBM Voice allows users to make calls to other BBM contacts over Wi-Fi or a data connection, with contacts able to be called by touching a green icon in the top right corner of chat. BBM Channels is a way for users to receive more information about or discuss specific topics or interests by subscribing to a particular channel. Channel owners can respond to incoming messages from followers, and can submit their own content as well.
Support for Dropbox has been included in the update, allowing for files stored in a Dropbox account to be sent to contacts, or for received files to be added to the Dropbox itself. Glympse-powered real-time location sharing will let users share their location with one or more other users, with the option of setting a timer for when the location becomes private again. Lastly, more than 100 new emoticons have been added, giving users more options when chatting.
The update is said to be heading to the various App stores later today.
The update to BBM comes shortly after BlackBerry saw another executive exit the company. Andrew Bocking, the executive vice president for BBM, left the company in mysterious circumstances, with reports claiming that he either left from his own accord to join an unnamed competitor, or he was fired after some internal disagreements.