BlackBerry was once accused of dragging it heels when it came to finally adding support for Android devices for BBM, but now that the gates have been opened, it seems that the company is happily making strides. In fact, while it doesn’t have yet a wearable device of its own, it is jumping onto the market by proxy. BlackBerry has just announced an update to BBM on all platforms with a lot of new features, one of which lets you view and reply to messages on your Android Wear smartwatch.
It seems like a no-brainer these days for Android messaging services but, considering how BBM isn’t a completely Android service, this addition is still welcome news to BBM users on Android. The app does what you expect it to. It notifies you of new messages, lets you read them in their entirety, even browsing through older ones, and reply to them using voice or with canned messages. It does have some features of its own to brag about. For one, if you don’t have the time or desire to read a message, you can still take a peek at who sent it and discretely read a preview. The integration with Android Wear also allows users to accept or reject BBM invites right on the smartwatch.
Android users aren’t the only ones to benefit from this update, of course. iOS users also get some treats. The app now offers deeper integration with the platform, allowing users to view conversations in landscape mode and swipe to delete a chat from the list. Users will also be able to prevent unwanted snooping by setting a 4-digit passcode on a conversation or, alternatively, use Touch ID.
BBM itself gets some cross-platform new features, perhaps the strangest of which are custom PINs. BlackBerry is giving in to a much requested feature, but not without concession. Users can now opt to create their own easy to remember PIN composed of 6 to 8 characters, letters and digits only. But that freedom comes at a price. Literally. Getting a custom PIN requires a $1.99 monthly subscription. And speaking of subscriptions, BlackBerry is now also offering a way out of ad-laden BBM feeds for the price of $0.99 a month.