BBM for Windows Phone Beta arrives

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Of course, mid way through 2014 and with Blackberry's marketshare almost non existent, the rather belated arrival of BBM on other platforms isn't exactly world shattering news, but hey - if you've got friends still using BBM and wanted a way to interact with them on your Windows Phone then at least there's now a way. In beta, naturally.

From the official Blackberry blog:

We’ve gotten an incredible number of requests for BBM to come to Windows Phone. In the coming weeks we’ll be ready to welcome millions of Windows Phone users to the growing BBM community.

In this first release of BBM for Windows Phone, we’re focused on introducing Windows Phone users to the power of sharing experiences in the moment through the immediacy and privacy offered by BBM. Users can engage in BBM Chats with one or many contacts, with the ability to share pictures, voice notes, contacts and location.

BBM Groups let you connect and share with up to 50 contacts. In addition to a private group chat, BBM Groups offer you a shared photo album where group members can chat about pics as well as shared calendars and shared lists. Broadcast messages will also be included in the first release, providing a way to quickly reach large groups of contacts as well as creating a feed where you can check out news from all your BBM contacts.

We’ll be working to quickly add more features to BBM for Windows Phone such as stickers, BBM Voice, BBM Channels and location sharing powered by Glympse in the months ahead.

Sounds good, though my eyebrows rose at the phrase 'growing BBM community'. Watching the industry, maybe this was true in 2011...  

At least Blackberry has made an effort to fit in well with the Windows Phone UI:

Customers love apps that are simple, easy to use and beautifully designed. Over the last couple of releases we’ve focused on simplifying the BBM user experience to make it easier to sign up, sign in and add BBM contacts. When it comes to design, we’ve heard users asking for a native experience that matches the experience they’re accustomed to on their phone.

I’m excited to announce with this release of BBM for Windows Phone we will be moving to a more familiar, native user experience that embraces the clean, modern design of the Windows Phone UI.

The BBM for Windows Phone interface focuses on three key areas core to the BBM experience: Contacts, Chats and Feeds. Swiping left and right will move you between these three pages. Common actions are found at the bottom of the page in the footer and additional controls can be found in the menu accessed through the three dots.

BBM WP ChatsBBM WP Feeds

See the full blog post for more detail on chats and feeds and their implementation on Windows Phone. 

And now for how you can get on the beta programme:

The BBM team here at BlackBerry has been busy getting BBM for Windows Phone ready to go. We’re preparing for an external beta ahead of our launch and are ready to start accepting applications to participate. Now remember, this is a beta and our expectation is that participants will help us make BBM for Windows Phone great by actively participating. If you’re not ready to report bugs, respond to surveys and provide feedback – better to wait just a bit longer for the full release. If you are excited to join the BBM for Windows beta program, please apply at BlackBerry BetaZone.

Comments welcome if you go ahead with this. Is it worth the wait? Is there any place for BBM in 2014?

Source / Credit: Inside Blackberry