BlackBerry has announced that its BBM app for iOS and Android devices will introduce free voice calling earlier next year.
The update, which is currently undergoing beta testing, will also include the chatroom-like BBM Channels service and a host of incremental features.
“We’re beta testing these features now for release on Android, iPhone and BlackBerry 10 in the next couple months so stay sharp, they’ll be here before you know it,” BlackBerry wrote on its blog.
The introduction of free voice calling will bring BBM in line with rival services such as Skype, WhatsApp Messenger, and Google Hangouts.
Other features of the early-2014 update include the introduction of photos, voice notes, location sharing, and a new set of emoticons.
Earlier today, it was announced that BBM will come pre-installed on select LG smartphones going forward.