BlackBerry Limited on Wednesday launched BBM Channels, which will lets brands create conversations with people and communities. The new service will become available on all BlackBerry devices running BlackBerry OS 5 through to BlackBerry 10 and will need an update of their BBM app. iPhone and Android devices will launch in the coming months.
BlackBerry Ltd is banking big on channels to bring it additional revenue in the coming months. This is also expected to let it monetise the BBM app across other platform where it became avaiable recently.
For the brands, the BBM Channels will give a way to connect to loyal users and reach out to new ones. Channel owners will be able to "post messages, share pictures, spark discussions, post animated GIFs and chat directly with subscribers".
Integrated live chat allows channel owners to offer “scheduled chat hours” where BBM users can directly engage with their favourite channels one on one, said a release. There will also be community channels. In fact, this feature has been in a beta stage since this May.
The brands will pay BlackBerry for use of the channel. If the model works it will be a welcome break for the Canadian smartphone maker which has been faced with declining smartphone sales over the past couple of months. Line, a popular messaging app with over 300 million users, uses this feature effectively in many countries.
Meanwhile, in some good news for the company, the recent NSA snooping has prompted the German government to limit official matters to BSI (Bonn federal office for information security) compatible phones. Since Apple's iPhone is not compatible, this will be a big boost for Blackberry.