BlackBerry BBM Upgrade: Stickers, Photo Sharing, And More

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The perennially popular BlackBerry messenger just got an update. The latest version now features stickers, larger file support, and photo sharing for multi-person chats. The update will roll out to all users starting this afternoon.

BlackBerry Messenger now features stickers

The most exciting new feature in this update is the stickers. BBM users can choose from a variety of sticker packs to add personality to their chats. Each individual sticker pack is either free or costs $1.99 to purchase. The packs contain 20 to 25 different stickers as well as content from artists that relates to a certain theme or brand.

Could BlackBerry Messenger’s new stickers feature be a key selling point for the company? About two months ago, BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) talked about adding stickers to the Messenger experience. Product Management Leader Sean Hungerford explained in a blog post, “Unlike emoticons, stickers are bolder, more beautiful images that you can add right in to your chat.”

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BBM’s senior director David Proulx also told Fast Company, “Stickers is the first product inside the virtual goods platform. What we’re deploying is a framework for merchandising and targeting, for transactions to occur within the applications that can be applied to different goods and services going forward.”

Photo sharing feature gets improved

Those who enjoy sharing photos will appreciate the new photo sharing features in this update. Users can now share images up to 16MB in chat and share photos in multi-person chat. Although the photos will first be shown as a thumbnail, recipients can click on the image to reveal the full size.

Perhaps one of the key challenges for most messenger applications is to monetize without traditional banner advertisements, which don’t seem to work so well in that environment. Most advertisers don’t really want to intrude on space that feels personal. BlackBerry Messenger provides a clever way to make money while offering something extra.