BBM Gets a New Beta Update

Installing a BBM update is like opening a present.

If you’re in the Beta BBM program, be sure to head to the Google Play Store and download an all new BBM Beta. While there is nothing really life changing for most of us in this beta update, there are a few nice changes, and something which bodes very well for the future.

The changelog follows:

-Call out Beta: Get your Smartfren number and make calls outside of BBM to Smartfren numbers for free
-A new simple and clean Feeds design for your visually enjoyment
-Enhanced BBM Desktop experience: Reply, delete, retract, forward and download documents
-See a prompt to upgrade your groups in BBM? BBM will automatically move you and all group members into our new and improved BBM groups!
-Phone number is now one of the many content types you can share

In case you were wondering, Smartfren is an Indonesian telecom. In other words, this is a feature that won’t be available to most of us, however it is showing an integration with voice calls which we have all been wanting. Let’s hope this is a feature that grows to other markets.

Feeds have been redesigned, and look very nice! Feeds are now very clean and inviting. Let’s hope more of my contacts start posting to feeds. In addition, BBM Channels get the same makeover. There is now little difference between Channels and Feeds in terms of design, and it looks great!

You can now share a contact, in a chat tap the “+” button next to the emoji icon and you will see the ability to share a BBM contact or a contact from your phone book. Once shared, users will see the option to “Save to Phonebook”  and can the add those contact details to an existing contact or add as a new contact. Very nice!!

BBM Desktop is enhanced with the ability to Reply, delete, retract, and forward, as well as downloading documents. Actually, this feature was already in place before this BBM update, and will work if you’re not on the latest update. And it is an extremely welcome addition.

A prompt to upgrade old BBM Groups to new BBM groups. No need to close a group and start a new one. But warning folks, this will eject any BB10 users you may still have.

Now, for a few items that aren’t listed in the update’s change log.

For new groups, that pick up where you left off, you’ll notice a message counter and scroll-to-bottom arrow on the lower right when you enter the group. This has to be one of the most requested features I’ve seen. This will also work if you scroll up or tap on a quoted message and are brought back to it. This is such a great feature I can’t believe it’s not listed in the change log.

There is an entirely new feature which many are confused about. You’ll see the Me tab has changed, and there is now a new item called Privacy. Click on it and you’ll see a new feature.

“Set your Account to Public: Allow People on BBM to communicate with you through voice or video call if they have your contact information”

This is set to public by default. Many are confused and initially believed that BBM changed your public/privacy settings for Feeds. This is not the case. That option is still under your account and has not changed. This is a new feature altogether, that presumable works the same way Google’s Allo will, with one difference. You can turn it off so that people can’t just contact you. Thank you BBM. I’m leaving it on for the time being to see how it works, and if it is problematic, I will surely let you know. But it is nice to see that BBM gives us the option to turn it off. Hopefully other services will take their lead and follow them on this.

I’m sure there are numerous other little surprises hidden away in the latest BBM Beta. If you’re on Beta and discover something which we haven’t yet, be sure to let us know in the comments below!


Update: Discover Tab also sees a welcome update. You can now set favorite items to the top, so that you’re not searching through the numerous options in the Discover menu. This will make it much more efficient to get to what you want to use.

Update #2: Here’s another find that people have been asking for! You can now set your own custom chat background. Choose either solid colors, or images from your own gallery!



Founder & Owner of UTB Blogs. Former BlackBerry Elite. When I'm not talking or writing about BlackBerry, you'll find me using my BlackBerry.