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BlackBerry bringing Channels and Voice Chat to BBM for Android and iOS next year

Joseph Volpe, @jrvolpe
December 19, 2013
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Remember how excited you were for BBM to hit Android and iOS and then BlackBerry continued to fake us all out with imminent releases? Thankfully, that's now all in the past and BBM is a reality for those of us not on BB10 devices, but still its feature set leaves something to be desired. The good news is that BlackBerry intends to flesh out BBM in 2014, though not just for the app.

So what's up ahead? Arguably, the most significant changes are coming to Android and iOS users in the form of BBM Voice and BBM Channels. Think of BBM Voice as you would Skype or Google Hangouts -- it's essentially a way for you to chat with your contacts without touching your allotment of minutes. And Channels, if you'll remember from our preview this past summer, is basically BlackBerry's spin on the social network. Both are already available for current BBM users running BB10, so this addition really just brings the rest of BBM's outsider base up to speed.

BlackBerry's also looking to make sharing with BBM a less cumbersome process in the new year. Though the company hasn't elaborated fully on just how it intends to make photo and voice note sharing that much speedier, it seems as if the process will soon require less fussy UI interactions. Users will even be able to divulge their whereabouts with BBM, albeit on a temporary basis and make use of over 100 new emoticons. All of this is coming "in the next couple of months," so if you need something to sate your curiosity now, check out the video after the break.

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