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As BBM offers details on future update, Viber says it’s looking to launch on BB10

BlackBerry has said on several occasions that it intends to spend time developing BBM, acting on its words by launching its popular messaging service on iOS and Android last fall. And just last week it said the app would soon land on Windows Phone and Nokia X, too.

Continuing with its BBM-focused efforts, the mobile company has been rolling out various updates for its cross-platform app, enhancing the user experience with new features designed to pit it against the likes of Facebook-owned WhatsApp, Line, Kik, and others in the fiercely competitive instant messaging space.

Indeed, the market is so cutthroat that the Canadian mobile company now deems it necessary to announce updates before they’ve even been issued, with a recent blog post by Jeff Gadway, head of product and brand marketing for the messaging service, highlighting upcoming developments regarding BBM.

So at some point in the presumably not-too-distant future (Gadway omits to say precisely when the update is coming), BBM users will be able to share photos in group chats, a feature many users have apparently been asking for.

“This comes as an addition to existing sharing options in multi-person chats – sending voice notes, sharing your location powered by Glympse, and sending files from your Dropbox account,” Gadway wrote on the Inside BlackBerry blog.

If you’ve been frustrated by the size limit imposed on files sent through the service, you’ll be pleased to learn that BBM is set to increase it to 16MB from the current 6MB, enabling you to send larger pictures, documents and videos. Gadway offers an example – the current limit, he says, means you can only send 1080p HD videos six seconds in length. The update will push this to 16 seconds.

And, for those of you who care about such things, the mobile maker says it’ll be increasing the size of the BBM emoticons. Deal breaker?

“We’re taking your feedback and we’re trying to knock it out of the park by bringing new features and improvements to BBM on a regular basis,” Gadway said in his post.

In other related news, Viber said Sunday it’s planning to launch its messaging app on BB10 at some point. The company behind the software said in a tweet it’s “working with BB on a solution that will allow us to bring Viber to BB10,” with more news on the plan promised “soon.”

Last October Viber said it had no plans to release a version for BB10, but Sunday’s message clearly signals a change of heart, though we’ll have to wait and see precisely what it means by “a solution.”

Despite the prospect of it going up against BB10 users of BBM, it’s a turnaround BlackBerry will welcome, as it shows developers have not lost faith in the company and also sends out a message to other developers that the platform is worth investing time, effort and money in.

Since taking over at the top in November, BlackBerry’s John Chen has said many times that for the company to return to relevancy, it needs to focus on four main areas: handsets, enterprise mobility management solutions, cross-platform messaging, and embedded systems.

[via engadget, Ubergizmo]

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