CANADIAN PHONE MAKER Blackberry announced on Thursday that Blackberry Messenger (BBM) 2.0 for iOS and Android is coming, bringing with it BBM Voice and BBM Channels.
BBM 2.0 will be released today, and it adds features to the apparently popular app, with Blackberry having claimed at the end of 2013 that 80 million people use it.
The biggest addition is BBM Voice, which lets users of the instant messaging app make voice calls over 3G or WiFi, much like Apple's Facetime service. When a BBM contact is available to talk, a green icon will appear next to their name.
BBM Channels is also delivered in the update, a group chat feature that allows BBM users to chat about topics that interest them. Blackberry claims that this feature will also help businesses to chat with an "engaged, mobile-focused" audience.
Blackberry president of global enterprise solutions John Sims said, "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.
"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."
BBM 2.0 will also see the introduction of location data sharing, Dropbox support and, perhaps most importantly, new emoticons.
BBM is available to download for free from the iTunes App Store and Google Play. µ
Sign up for INQbot – a weekly roundup of the best from the INQ