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New BlackBerry Messenger Beta for Android Features BBM Voice, Beats Hangouts to the Punch

According to CrackBerry, BlackBerry has released an updated beta version of BBM for Android, which features a nice changelog that users should all enjoy. For starters, it is reported that the update brings a ton of new emoticons to use, improved file sharing, BBM Channels, and more importantly, BBM Voice. With BBM Voice, BBM users can call each other for free over a WiFi network, a feature that we were hoping an update to Google’s Hangouts app for Android would include, but still has yet to arrive. As reference, the Hangouts app on iOS has had Google Voice and calling integration for months now.

The beta is only available to a select group of Android users for now, so Android folks will need to remain patient while BlackBerry works out any bugs. Fingers crossed it has no launch mishaps like BBM had when it first launched for Android. That was a nightmare for them.

To get an idea of how BBM Voice will work, check out the launch video for BBM 7 down below. It’s essentially the same exact thing.

Via: CrackBerry
  • meelmeli

    akward moment when the upgrade stops the app working. something about ‘ no wifi connected’ or ‘network error’

  • Lala

    Can you download bbm on a blackberry even though it comes with it >?

  • MrDeepak

    Well i have been using beta version there is lots of feature but only one thing is that while calling any BBM user its only shows that BBM users are currently unavailable. Lets hope for another update,

  • David Wallace

    Someone explain to me how I am free VOIP calling my dad from my iPad to his Verizon phone, for free, using Hangouts but I can’t do this on the Android version? Something is wrong with the world when iOS Hangouts gets a feature the walled garden usually blocks. So iOS free phone calls, but not for android… how the hell is this not in android yet. I mean Android is just about ad revenues so it’s not like they should give two shits if I don’t use my minutes.

  • 2014

    What BlackBerry?

  • *Yawns* Facebook Messenger has had this for a while now.

  • Luqmaan Mathee

    I’d really use it if it was holo but I can’t stand the current look so I deleted it.

  • tech247

    BBM is really a half baked product. Up til this day, my messages are still sometimes delayed by up to 16 hours!! I think its time to delete it until they figure out how to make it work 100% of the time on the Android platform.

    • guest


      • Brian

        …. well you have to be connected to the internet. So hanging out in the desert or woods for 16 hours doesn’t count. Also helps to pay your isp bill.

  • Intellectua1

    My 2 favorite apps, BBM and Hangouts..

  • juliana jones

    New Blackberry massenger is better from other blackberry devices.

    Via: codingbrains dot com

  • Mike91270

    I dont see the updated app in the Play Store….the QR code in the video takes you to the BB site…It does not appear the Android version of the app is available yet.

    • Its. A. Beta. Only. Available. To. Members. Of. The. Beta. Program. <<< I hope I spelled it out well enough for you. Read the article next time..

  • Jeremy Martin

    It’s still got one major flaw… It’s still BBM

    • guest

      sheesh. More cheap shots from the peanut gallery.

      • Jeremy Martin

        Says the random guest

  • Michael Ludden

    Factually this is incorrect. Google Hangouts does offer voice calling, and also video calling. It doesn’t offer voip calling via wifi using your Google Voice number. Neither does BBM. Hangouts DOES offer video calling though, which BBM does not.

    • Indianajonze

      Um no. Android hangouts does not have voice only calling either via mobile or WiFi to any U.S. number. Video calling only And to hangouts members only. As the article mentioned, this has been available for iOS for months

      • Michael Ludden

        BBM only supports voice calling to BBM members. The point being that neither supports voice calling to U.S. phone numbers yet (on Android), meaning BBM doesn’t have some voice calling feature that Hangouts is missing, as the article suggests.

        • Indianajonze

          It does though. Voice only calling to members. BBM apparently now has it, hangouts does not. There are ways around it (start video call and disable camera), but its not a true feature

          • Michael Ludden

            You can make voice only calls to other Hangouts users and you can make voice only calls to other BBM users… That’s feature parity in my book. What am I missing?

          • Tom

            Nothing. The article is wrong.

            The only thing BBM does that Hangouts doesn’t is to make voice-only calls default to the ear speaker rather than to speakerphone.

          • Tom

            Hangouts has voice-only calling on Android since the Google Talk days. It just has the annoying flaw of defaulting to speakerphone, forcing you to manually toggle it to use the “ear speaker”. BBM voice-only calls default to the “ear speaker”, which is better, but the functionality hasn’t been brought to non-BB phones (yet).

            To say that Hangouts lacks any sort of voice calling is complete rubbish. It has voice and video calling, just not necessarily to real phone numbers, and the voice-only part has the flaw I mentioned earlier.

        • chris_johns

          stop it…stop it right now

  • BK

    Just more salt in the wound for Google Voice users. Still no group messaging, MMS, VOIP?

    The promised switchover to Hangouts better include one hell of an update…

    • CoreRooted

      On Hangouts v2..0.217, both MMS and group messaging are there and functioning. VOIP has never been a priority for me as I get unlimited minutes on my cell plan and capped data (when mobile).

      • brkshr

        I think he was referring to GV not having those things.

        • BK

          Yes, I was referring to GV.

          • CoreRooted

            Ah. My mistake. Sorry about that.

          • osgoodschlotter

            Why Google Voice STILL doesn’t support MMS after all these years, is beyond me. Makes you wonder what’s going on at Google sometimes.

          • Krista Johnson


            ☛☛☛☛ ☛☛☛☛ ☛

  • Higher_Ground

    Hangouts seems like a buggy app to me. I haven’t used it much since most of my friends don’t have android phones but my brother recently joined the club and he sends me hangout messages.
    When I installed a kitkat ROM it appeared that hangouts fully replaced the Messaging app. The only problem is that Hangouts doesn’t always show me a notification (I checked – notifications are turned on) when I receive a new SMS. I was sitting there wondering why I didn’t get a reply and when I went to text the person again, it magically appeared as an unread message. What’s the point if it doesn’t alert me immediately?

  • Lumia Nexus

    first of all Hangouts is a waste of time for ppl using Tango, Whatsapp, Viber and SKYPE. Hangouts is just not as reliable and does not always work. it is a waste of space and i wish i could remove it 100% from my phone without rooting it but my NOTE 3 only allows to disable it for good but doesnt uninstall it.

    • KleenDroid

      Its a waste of space period. The stock texting app is better. I don’t know a single person who even uses Hangouts. They need to either make it wonderful or just get rid of it.

      Right now it is just more bloat to get rid of.

      • John Davids

        I use Hangouts every single day with my entire social circle. iOS, Android, and Browser iterations all work flawlessly for me. The new presence reporting is really nice too. I can see if a friend is on a call, on their phone, tablet, or browser without even messaging them.

        My only pain point with it currently is how it handles SMS. It is a nice improvement to have IM and SMS under 1 app, but it does not seamlessly integrate SMS into hangouts, just gives you another “Hangout” that is all the SMS texts with that contact. How it should work is when you try to send a message to someone, it should first try hangouts and then if it times out, or the recipient isnt online, or the recipient has flagged himself as SMS only availability (automatically or manually) it sends an SMS. What technology the phone uses to actually send the message should be invisible to the user.

        • darensdorff

          Same here..I fully welcomed the “integration” and have since replaced all my messaging apps with Hangouts.

          2 things I wish hangouts would be able to do:
          1 – exactly what John Davids stated above about the technology being invisible to the user and just sending by “process of elmination” if hangouts is unsuccessful, then try SMS.
          2 – MMS over WiFi!!! Never understood the reasoning behind not allowing this feature. MMS should be sent over the fastest connection…WIFI. If no WiFi, then mobile data is next…

          • GoBlue

            Thank you! I reached my cap last month and couldn’t get simple group texts or pictures sent to me even on wifi. How does that make sense?

      • abhele

        u must not have friends ..

      • Intellectua1

        Hello you just met one.. I only use Hangouts and I love it.. I also use BBM to talk to international friends.. I was so happy for BBM’s arrival so I could get rid of What’s App..

      • Jimmie T

        I happen to know dozens of ppl who use Hangouts as the default sms app simply because they used Google Talk constantly in the past, and now they can have all their messages in one spot. I do for that reason as well. I also use BBM since I have a lot of family who still use a Blackberry. Just like all software, it’s a personal choice to use it. I myself would never go back to the stock texting app, I have no issues with Hangouts or BBM. Again, it’s a personal choice, to each their own.

  • brkshr

    Hopefully this pressures Google to get Hangouts voice services going on Android.

    • Adrynalyne

      Can’t you just do a video call and turn off the camera?

      Not much different IMO.

      • brkshr

        That’s what I’ve heard, but I’m hoping for Google Voice integration. It may or may not come to fruition. At any rate, a dedicated voice only option for others that aren’t in the know would still be nice.

      • SuperSam64

        It is actually a lot different. When (and if) Google Voice is integrated into Hangouts, it would be able to duplicate the functionality of the phone for Google Voice users. This means calling any phone (not just other Hangouts users, but people with feature phones, land lines, VOIP services on their computers, etc.), while using the same Google Voice number they already use. They would only need one app for communication, and it would include standard phone calls, SMS, video calls, Hangouts-to-Hangouts messages, and perhaps even voicemail (as the Google Voice app currently offers) all in one place, rather than having a phone app, a Google Voice app, a Hangouts app, an SMS app, etc. It would also allow for calls over a data connection which would be a benefit to anyone with a limited number of minutes, and finally, would make it easy for people to make calls over WiFi, even on a device that does not have a service plan (like a tablet). This would be huge for Google Voice users.

    • SuperSam64

      It won’t happen until May. Google has given third party messaging apps until May (I believe that was the timeframe) to stop “unauthorized use” of Google Voice, at which point the current protocol it uses will be transitioned to a different protocol that is no longer available to third party apps. This would suggest that once the new protocol is in place Google will integrate the feature into Hangouts, though that is only speculation. But it’s unlikely they’d do it before the switch since that would probably involve rewriting the code in a few months.

  • Hangout has so many features in the back-burner and ‘ios only’ column right now that I’ve lost count. Right now we can make Hangout to Hangout video calls on Android. I don’t think Google is going to bring back “audio-only” call here. So, the “BBM voice” equivalent isn’t coming to Hangout ever; imo.

    The call option in Hangout for iOS is NOT same. That is part of Google voice. You can call ANY number from there; using your Google voice minutes. (Free for USA / Canada). But rest of Google voice features, like voicemails and text aren’t there.

  • back2dawindoze

    Google Wave, Google Reader, iGoogle, Nexus Q, Google Answers, Google Buzz, Google Health, and soon, Android.

    Google doesn’t care enough about their own platform and it seems they can’t get anything but search right. Turned Chrominum into something awful, allows carriers and manufacturers RUIN their product, and puts priority of other operating systems above their own. Oh well, perhaps M$ will start competing with a good OS soon and Google can just close the doors on another project they just bought instead of created themselves.

    • John Davids

      The products you just listed I think prove the contrary to your claim that it shows they don’t care. Google isn’t afraid to try ANYTHING, but perhaps more importantly they are equally unafraid to kill unsuccessful ventures. It is a great thing when a company tries something, fails, and is willing to cut their losses and move on. Far too often products / apps / ventures / etc. get dragged out long past when they have died because they were a pet project of a VIP or one of 100 other stupid company bureaucratic reasons. Your tone suggests (perhaps unintentionally) that you are an Apple fanboi who feels “wronged” by the “theft” of Android…or something. To that, I say this:

      Apple Lisa, Apple Newton, Apple Pippin, Apple Macintosh Portable, Appleworks, and soon, iOS.

      Apple doesn’t care enough about their own platform and it seems they can’t get anything but iPods right. Turned iOS into something awful, copying everything Android has done in the past 2 years. Oh well, perhaps Google will start competing with a good OS soon and Apple can just close the doors on another project they just copied instead of created themselves.

      • John Davids Twin Sister

        Except it is clearly stated Microsoft, not Apple, but ok. Android is just the Jeff Bezos 10000 year Clock of Google, they have no intention of creating an OS but instead an ad platform.

        • John Davids

          “Except it is clearly stated Microsoft, not Apple, but ok.”

          My satire is utterly and hopelessly lost on you.

          “they have no intention of creating an OS but instead an ad platform.”

          Google always has been an advertising company, first and foremost. However I feel as though you sell Google short in being able to only have one goal, which is ad revenue. Even casually observing Google, I think the general perceived attitude is not “ad platform, screw the rest”, but rather “ad platform, and with that massive capital lets do some really amazing things.”

          Besides, you could argue that no one who has made a commercially available OS is actually interested in the OS, but rather the revenue that it brings. Be it the high-cost licensing model from Microsoft, the high-cost hardware model from Apple, or the “ad-supported” free model from Google. Pick your poison.

          • Linus Torvalds

            There is that one with a penguin logo that is used by a majority of the Top500… I guess hoping a company in a capitalist society could instead care about the consumer rather than the shareholder is too far-fetched.

          • John Davids

            That would be why I said “commercially available”. The latest NetApp statistics (Dec ’13) put Linux at 1.73% market share. Statcounter has them at 1.14%. I’m sorry but that’s not even statistically significant to discuss. To your latter point, you are correct. That *is* too far fetched to think that a capitalistic society will ever care about individuals before share prices. In fact, there was a recent article in Businessweek that shows there is utterly no correlation between customer satisfaction and stock prices. In fact, some of the most hated companies are doing the best. The most poignant section:

            “…there’s no statistical relationship between customer-service scores and stock-market returns. Your contempt really, truly doesn’t matter to these companies, with no influence on the bottom line. If anything, it might hurt company profits to spend money making customers happy.”


          • Adrynalyne

            In what kind of a society does a company care more about consumer than shareholder?

          • In a moral society that does not exist…

  • Colton

    here’s to hoping google is waiting to release true unified sms and hangouts threads and voice calling in the SAME update as a MAJOR update for android. (soon?)

  • Tarel Washington

    Yea its sad… Google has a weird software implementation scheme…