Technology, Smartphones, Games

BlackBerry to offer free voice calls (via BBM) to Android and iPhone users





The Canadian Smartphone maker, BlackBerry, is about to get itself some more oxygen to survive in the very competent Smartphone industry.


In a smart move last year in July-2013, BlackBerry did offer its popular BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) to Android and iPhone users for free. BBM, as advertised by BlackBerry, is the best way to connect and share instant messages, pictures and more for free, in real time. This move by BlackBerry gave it a lifeline to continue its fight for surviving in the industry, that once it was the sole ruler.


The popularity of BBM could be easily guessed by the number of downloads that per Google Play are between 10 to 50 million.


Until now, the BBM for Android and iPhone was limited to only text chats, and sharing of photos, files, documents, and voice notes. However, in a clever and well planned move, BBM is about to introduce the much awaited and missing feature called - BBM Voice - on its BBM-Android and iPhone apps.

Using BBM Voice, one will be able to call virtually anywhere in the world for free either over a Wi-Fi or cellular data network.

Furthermore, BlackBerry is also planning to introduce BBM Channel feature (on its BBM-Android and iPhone apps), which was launched in November-2013. This feature, an extension of the messenger, is a kind of a social platform wherein users will be able to share, upload to and join channels of their interests, or of a brand or service of their choice. In turn, channel owner’s will be able to communicate with their followers, and share posts, images, offers and updates.


The global update of the app will happen 'within a few weeks', which will put BBM in direct competition with apps like Viber, Line and WhatsApp, that allow users to make free calls and send audio as chats, said Krishnadeep Baruah, senior director, channel marketing in Asia Pacific for Blackberry. On launching a BBM for Windows devices, Baruah said that "We're constantly evaluating and hopefully at the right time we will be able to launch on newer platforms”, without specifying a timeline.


While BlackBerry is constantly loosing its customer base, it will be interesting to see how they can still hold on to the loosing customers with the new features (such as Quickshare- to allow sharing of Dropbox files, contact cards, location information) that are most likely to be introduced “soon” in BBM 2.0.


Meanwhile, still awaiting the launch of “new features”, do watch the BBM Voice video here.