As part of BlackBerry’s push to attract more people to BBM, the Waterloo company on Tuesday officially began rolling out its own social network, BBM Channels, which is a Twitter-like service that’ll allow companies and celebrities to directly engage with fans. The company said its social network will be built into its BBM messaging service—available first to BlackBerry users—which will soon be preinstalled on some Android devices across Africa, India, Indonesia, Latin America and the Middle East.
With over 80 million people using BBM everyday, BlackBerry has designed Channels to generate revenue from the messaging service, which currently doesn’t have ads. The social network is expected to roll out to iOS and Android devices in the coming months; the two competing platforms currently have around 20 million BBM users between them, according to recent data.
By beefing up the BBM experience, BlackBerry is attempting to leverage one of its most valuable assets. The company for years allegedly considered releasing its messaging service on competing platforms, but didn’t make the move official until after enduring a less than stellar few years; its handful of devices and new mobile OS haven’t exactly lit the market on fire.
The feature essentially sounds like AOL chatrooms, so if you’re hankering for some public conversations, you can start jumping into some BBM Channels today.