Skip to main content

BlackBerry outs BBM Channels, a social platform for brands and celebrities

 BBM Channels

BBM was once the pinnacle of messaging perfection and BlackBerry enjoyed flaunting it in front of the competition, but with the rise of rival chat apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, BlackBerry needs to stay competitive. One of the ways it plans to do that is with BBM Channels, a new social platform aimed squarely at celebrities and brands.

Hot on the heels of the announcement that BBM would eventually be available on iOS and Android, Channels promises to further build on the BlackBerry brand. The first brand to take advantage of the platform is the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team, a pretty niche brand for a product launch but at least it’s not a BlackBerry fan page.

Users will be able to create a channel to gain followers, which can be controlled with a web client or BlackBerry smartphone – though the feature will be extended to iOS and Android pending acceptance into the app stores. Channel discovery will be built-in with a carousel-like UI for cycling through different brands and individuals worth checking out.

As a subscriber, you will be kept in the loop with timely updates on deals, news, events, or whatever the channel owner chooses to share. In that way, it works a bit like Facebook Pages. “Commenting” and “Liking” were also mentioned and channel owners have the option of engaging in one-to-one conversations with followers. Analytics are built-in as well, allowing you to “assess and monitor follower engagement and interaction.”

The quasi-social network approach seems like an odd move for BlackBerry, but it’s still nice to see the company trying something new. It might not overthrow the likes of Facebook and Twitter, but we could see people using it, at least the small number of BB users still out there.

BBM Channels is currently available as a beta for BlackBerry 10 smartphones like the Z10 and Q10, along with BB phones running anything from Blackberry 5 to 7.1. The application can be downloaded for free on the BlackBerry Beta Zone.

Editors' Recommendations

Andrew Kalinchuk
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Andrew covers news and opinions pertaining to smartphones, tablets, and all else mobile for Digital Trends. He recently…
Sorry fans, Blackberry Messenger for Android and iOS died May 31
BlackBerry Key2 LE review

The BlackBerry Messenger app, better known as BBM, shut down on Android and iOS, nearly six years after it launched to the tune of more than 5 million downloads in its first eight hours. The consumer version of the messaging service will stop operating Friday, May 31, confirmed through the official BBM Twitter account, in an emotional goodbye.

Read more
BlackBerry Key2 LE: Everything you need to know
The BlackBerry Key2 LE is back home at Verizon, but only for business types
BlackBerry Key2 LE Hands On

The BlackBerry Key LE is a lower-cost version of the Key2, doing away with some of the more high-tech features seen on the expensive sister phone, and cutting costs by using different materials for the body, to create a more affordable but still distinctly BlackBerry smartphone.

You can check out our Key2 LE review to learn more about what it's like to live with the phone, but in the meantime, here are all the technical specs, details, and availability options.
The BlackBerry Key2 LE is available to buy at Verizon, but only to business and enterprise customers, according to reports. Verizon's selling the Key2 LE for $450 without a contract, or for $100 if you sign up for a two-year plan. The phone does not show up on Verizon's non-business store, so there does not seem to be the option to buy the phone for this price without a business plan.

Read more
BlackBerry Key2: Everything you need to know
The dramatic BlackBerry Key2 Red Edition is now available in the U.S.
blackberry keytwo news and rumors key2 red main

Blackberry is always at the top of its game when it sticks to what it knows best -- security-focused phones with QWERTY keyboards. The Blackberry KeyOne was a return to form for the company, and its successor has improved upon it in every way. Here's everything you need to know about the BlackBerry Key2.
The BlackBerry Key2 Red Edition is now available


Read more