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BlackBerry opens BBM video calls to Android and iOS users

In an effort to remain competitive with rival messaging platforms, BlackBerry has decided to bring video calling to its cross platform BBM messaging apps.

Last week, it was unveiled that the Android variant of BlackBerry Messenger would be receiving the ability to make video calls as a beta feature. Now the company has announced that this feature will also be appearing on Apple's iOS.

Video calls in BBM on Android and iOS will remain exclusive to North America and Canada until after July. Then video calling will exit its beta stage and become a fully fledged feature in BBM with global availability.

BlackBerry is no longer the powerful mobile handset developer it used to be in previous years. As a result the company has been experimenting with bringing its messaging service to new platforms and even went so far as to release its first Android phone. The company originally began to open up BBM to new platforms in 2013 with hopes of using the service's former popularity to attract new users on rival platforms.

Until now video calling was only available on devices running BlackBerry 10. Now this feature will lose its exclusivity and may potentially help the company's messaging service regain relevance. BlackBerry has also removed its $1 privacy & control subscription to make all of BBM's features free to all users.

While this update may encourage some users to continue using BBM as their messaging platform of choice, it will likely do little to dissuade users of Microsoft's Skype, Facebook's Messenger, WhatsApp or other services to make the switch to an unfamiliar platform.

Image Credit: Vdovichenko Denis / Shutterstock

Anthony Spadafora
After living and working in South Korea for seven years, Anthony now resides in Houston, Texas where he writes about a variety of technology topics for ITProPortal.