At CES 2015, BlackBerry shared some numbers showing the performance of BBM across multiple platforms. It is not hard to see that the messaging platform is doing amazingly well. Actually, BBM received more than 140 million new registrations from Android and iOS devices. Seventy percent of these users are active every day. Also 175 million people visited the BBM Shop in 2014. And you thought nobody was buying stickers. Well, more than 300 million stickers were shared. So, people are buying them.
While all of these figures are impressive, BBM Channels tells a different story. In 2014, over 1 million BBM Channels were created. While BlackBerry seems impressed with this, it is not exactly a big number especially when you consider the huge potential of the platform.
BBM Channels has not received a major update in several months. That may be the actual reason behind the dwindling popularity of this platform. In recent months, BlackBerry did a lot of things to improve BBM, but unfortunately, BBM Channels did not get that kind of attention. It is lagging behind in terms of expansion and development. Maybe BlackBerry is working on an update. Or maybe they are busy working on other things. Anyway, here are some improvements that Channel users would like to see added.
Ability to embed or add videos
BlackBerry said that they were adding this feature but it has not arrived yet. If this feature was added, it would significantly improve the user experience.
Ability to edit Channel posts
BlackBerry devices have excellent keyboards, but typos still occur. And sometimes you notice them only after you have sent the post. Right now you cannot edit a Channel post after you have published it. So, if you notice mistakes, you either have to live with them or delete the post.
BlackBerry really ought to open them up a bit. It is possible to share online content from BBM Channels, but it is not easy. Channel users will definitely appreciate it if they can embed posts on a website.
BBM Channels do not support multiple admin systems at the moment. If this is supported, running a BBM Channel will be easier.
Better integration with BlackBerry Blend
You can only view BBM Channels through BlackBerry Blend. You will be able to see your Channels and other people’s Channels. You can also post comments, but you can’t post to your Channels through Blend. You have to go to their online portal to do that. Or you have to do it through your device. Maybe that feature is coming, but it is not there at the moment.
Channels does not have a shortcut at the moment. If it has one, it will enjoy more visibility on the device and the shortcut will serve as a reminder to use Channels. Of course, this should not be mandatory. People should have the freedom to hide or remove the shortcut.
People enjoy BBM Channels when they are using it, but they have to remind themselves to use it. By simply adding some additional features, BlackBerry will be able to improve the popularity of Channels.