BBM Material Design: The New Experience

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Yesterday, BBM officially rolled out Material Design update for all users. This is inline with Google’s new design elements, and I’d say it’s a great move. On hearing the news, I ran to Google Play Store and found the update waiting for me to take action. Later I learnt many users were yet to be notified and had to update theirs from the wild- una kpele.


Opening the app for the first time, you have to pause and look back for a minute. This is not the regular BBM you knew before. The big black bottom bar (with actions) is gone. The new design is changed everything – beautiful yet impressive. These are the few major noticeable changes:

  • You now swipe from left to right to switch between chats and contacts and groups.
  • You can now update your status from feeds which is cool.
  • From the BBM feeds, you tap on the small downward triangle to view Channel feeds.
  • Tap the left Menu key to see the whole Menu presented to you.


BBM Material

Delving into chats. We have a brand new menu with all the icons moved just above the keyboard. The interface looks fresher and cleaner. You can now edit messages, Quote messages (for emphasis when replying), Retract messages. There’s also private chats – a new secure chat feature – which I’d say is awesome.

In a private chat, the participants names, profile pictures and time stamps are hidden. Best of all, you can’t take screen shots while on a private chat. I tried and my phone hooked 😆 This is very good for those babes fond of taking screenshots of chats.

BBM no screenshot

The above features are bundled into a Privacy and Control subscription if you plan to use them always. Heading down to group chats we have a more colorful interface. Each participant has a unique color. You can also copy and quote messages.

Overall the new BBM is beautiful and offers a fresh, new and unique experience. From my experience so far, these are the major issues it came with:

  • It’s too much of a learning curve. I had to sit down and spend up to 15 mins to go through everything.
  • I feel the white theme is too bright and sensitive to the eyes. Blackberry should introduce a dark theme, like we have on Blackberry 10 devices.

That has been my experience with the new BBM with Material design. Hope I didn’t miss anything. Thanks to Saiddigge for helping me locate the Channel feeds and testing out the Private chats feature.

  1. I agree about the white theme. In fact I spent several minutes looking for a black theme.

  2. Nah.. Check the top left section of a chat screen to invite the participant to a private chat

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