CEO John Chen hopes that the service will lead to the development of a new revenue stream for the struggling manufacturer. The upgrade will be released across BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB), Android and iOS operating systems in the next few days, but a release date for the Windows Phone version upgrade has not been specified.

BBM windows phone

BBM’s new features

Users are given the opportunity to set a timer before sending their messages, which controls how long their contacts will be able to view them for. Upon receiving one of the new messages, the recipient must touch and hold the chat in order to see the message.

BlackBerry says that when the recipient removes their finger from the screen, or the timer runs out, the message will be deleted. An added feature is an alert that is sent to the sender if BBM detects that the recipient has taken a screenshot of the message.

Another additional feature allows users to delete a message from the BBM chat before or after it has been read.

Potential new revenue stream

BBM users will be able to enjoy the new features for free over the course of the coming three months. Subsequently the services will be included in a subscription bundle, the cost of which has not yet been specified.

Interested users can download the upgrade from BlackBerry World, Apple App Store and Google Play.

Snapchat’s idea of timed, disappearing messages was groundbreaking upon its release in 2011, and led to the service exploding in popularity to become one of the most used social sharing services in the world.

Skype recently announced the release of a similar service, and this new foray from BlackBerry represents an attempt to piggyback on the popularity of the concept in order to create a new revenue stream. The company recently announced a loss in its second quarter results, which would have been a profit had the 91 million active BBM users each paid $2.50 for the service.