BBM video calling for Android
BBM video calling feature in beta version available for Android users Reuters

For those who were waiting for video calling on BBM, here is some good news. BlackBerry has just rolled out the video feature for Android users, but as a beta version. Android users can now update to the latest version to enjoy the new feature. BlackBerry promises to make the update available soon for iPhone and iPad owners.

The initial availability is only for a limited number of users as BlackBerry wants to monitor the performance, collect feedback and squash bugs if there are any before rolling out the update globally, which the company has planned for July. Currently, the beta feature is only available for users in the US and Canada.

The BBM video supports Android 4.4 KitKat or higher and iOS 8 or higher. There is no sign-up or approval required to use the feature. Just tap the icon to initiate a call with any of your BBM contacts and BBM will then ask you whether you want to make a voice call or try a video call with the beta feature.

Video calling feature on the rise

According to a study by Pew Research, in the US video calling made by adults from their smartphones rose from 33% in 2013 to 47% in 2015. The rise is a result of increasing mobile bandwidth with 4G network and smartphones that are now equipped with cameras, software features and other things.

Even in business, live videos help people save time and travel expenses. Earlier in 2013, a Redshift Research study by Polycom said 96% of business decision makers thought video conferencing removed distance barriers, while improving productivity among team members spread worldwide.

Matthew Talbot, senior vice president of Emerging Solutions at BlackBerry, while explaining the video calling feature on smartphone said: "Video is the closest thing to being physically present. We know why that's more important for personal calls — bridging the distance with our loved ones, like helping grandparents see their grandkids grow. In healthcare, doctors are using video calling to collaborate across distances and save lives."