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BlackBerry launching BBM Channels, its answer to Twitter

The platform is rolling out on Tuesday to those running BlackBerry OS 5 and above.

BBM Channels
BBM Channels
Brian Bennett/CNET

BlackBerry's response to the social network craze, BBM Channels, is rolling out starting on Tuesday.

Device owners running BlackBerry OS 5 or higher will soon have access to Channels, allowing them to communicate with companies, brands, and other luminaries. The idea is somewhat simple: a company, let's say, creates a Channel, and BBM users can then send messages, post questions, and otherwise communicate with that company. The company, meanwhile, can share messages, pictures, and animated GIFs through the service.

Announced in May, BBM Channels is surprisingly similar in its functionality to Twitter. Both services allow companies or brands to set up dedicated pages where they can communicate with fans (and detractors). In addition, BBM Channels can be created by individual users, which others can follow, similar to Twitter's own social mechanism.

BBM Channels will start to roll out on Tuesday starting at 12 p.m. PT. BlackBerry expects to launch BBM Channels for iPhone and Android handsets "in the coming months."