BlackBerry Issues out Video Calling Feature For BBM in Canada and US


BlackBerry continually tries to play catch up with some of the leading players in the smartphone market. In one of their recent attempts to bring its service to par with the others, BlackBerry has announced plans to take the its exclusive video call feature on the BBM messaging app to all major software platforms on the market. The feature was released last week in Android without as much excitement as would have been expected. Now the feature has also come to the iOS platform.

The iOS availability is however only limited to the US and Canadian market at the moment. A global release for the feature is scheduled to be set for July, which would help the company in checking and monitoring performance of the app. It would also help them gather feedback on the feature thus giving them ample time to straighten out any bugs that might be lingering with the service.

Senior Vice President of Emerging Solutions at BlackBerry, Matthew Talbot said the company was ecstatic with the release of the new video feature. He mentioned that the release was a beta version for the Android operating system with the iOS version on its way for the iPhone and iPad platforms. This was the statement released when the company had just released the app for Android users last week.

The service is currently available for all Canadian and US users of the BBM messaging app who have Android version 4.4 and iOS 8 versions and above. The company also notes the simplicity in using the video call feature, adding it does not require any additional sign ups.

“There’s no sign-up or approval required to use the feature. When you tap the icon to initiate a call with one of your BBM contacts, BBM will ask whether you want to make a voice call or try a video call with the beta feature (provided your contact is also eligible to participate).”

The move by the company is seen as a way it is trying to open up to the tech market as it takes another one of its services to the other platforms on the market. BlackBerry was one of the most closed systems on the market a few years back and they have just started opening up. This might be seen as a reaction to the market drop which now stands at 1 percent at the moment.

In one of its open door strategy, the company recently released the first commercial Android supported device. Other Android supported BlackBerry are expected to follow, and the company has also released some of the BlackBerry software only restricted applications to the world.

Talbot mentioned that mobile video conferencing had been one of the factors which had led to the extension of the video feature to other platforms. He noted how video technology was slowly overtaking voice technology and vying for the no 1 communications technology position.

The assertion by Talbot is correct but it might be too little too late by the Canadian based company already. Other noteworthy video dedicated applications such as Skype, Facebook, and Google Hangouts have had the voice and video features from ages ago.

With that in mind, it seems BlackBerry might not be targeting new customers to the company but simply trying to please their existing loyal customers. It helps bring the company on an equal footing with other apps out there also, who have had the video feature for a long time now.

The addition is good news to the BBM messaging app family who now have a new feature to play with. BlackBerry’s promise to open up their systems to the world seems to be happening also, and the release can only be seen as a step in the right direction.