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The Lowdown: BlackBerry Q5, BB 10.1, Cross Platform BBM, & More

BlackBerry has announced BlackBerry Q5 smartphone and made couple of software announcements at the BlackBerry Live 2013 event that concluded yesterday. Here's a quick lowdown of everything that BlackBerry announced - BlackBerry World: BlackBerry World now has over 120,000 apps for the new BlackBerry 10 OS. It has also added Skype, SoundHound, Bloomberg Hub, iHeartRadio, among others. The Skype app will ship along with BlackBerry 10.1 OS update. BlackBerry 10.1: CEO Thorsten Heins unveiled the BlackBerry 10.1 operating system that includes support for PIN-to-PIN messaging in BlackBerry Hub, HDR photography, deeper customization of notifications, universal search actions, and has fixed few performance issues. BB 10.1, the updated version of the OS ships with BlackBerry Q10. Starting today, the BB 10.1 will be rolled out to BlackBerry Z10 users. BlackBerry Messenger: BlackBerry also announced that BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) will support multiple platforms starting with Apple's iOS 6 and Android 4 or higher. iOS and Android users can chat with BBM users cross platform, including multi-person chats, share photos and voice notes, and conduct BBM Groups, which allows BBM customers to create groups of up to 30 people (WhatsApp allows 55). iOS and Android users can add their contacts through PIN, email, SMS or QR code scan, regardless of platform. Android users can also able to connect using a compatible NFC-capable device.  BlackBerry claims that it plans to add support for BBM Channels (see below),  voice and video chats for the iOS and Android app. It notes that, if the app is approved by Apple and Google, the BBM app will…

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