BlackBerry is continuing to expand the reach of its erstwhile walled garden messaging app, BBM. The latest platform it’s targeting is Google’s wearable focused flavor of Android, Android Wear — demoing an integration of BBM on Android Wear at CES this week.
BBM will launch on Android Wear in “early 2015”, according to BlackBerry execs speaking to press at the show. Features will apparently include new message alerts, the ability to preview or view full messages, and also reply to messages hands free using Google Now or by selecting preset messages to send.
BlackBerry finally opened up BBM to the rival iOS and Android mobile platforms in October 2013. And while the launch was initially dogged by technical problems, BlackBerry has gone on to carve out a small active user base — of around 90 million monthly active users, as of last September. Registered users number around the 140 million mark.
Speaking at CES this morning BlackBerry CEO John Chen said expanding BBM onto Android Wear is a strategy to increase the stickiness of the platform — with the main aim of boosting ad yields.
BlackBerry kicked off swift efforts to monetize a cross-platform BBM with a beta launch of a BBM Channels feature on Android last March. It also added stickers and a sticker store last year, as well as expanding BBM features to include an encrypted messaging offering aimed at enterprises.