Despite its botched initial rollout and late arrival in the messaging app space, the cross-platform BBM app has become quite popular among many iOS and Android users. If you’re one of these users, you’ll be glad to know that several major new features are set to be added to BBM early next year.

In a new blog post, BBM Head of Product Management Sean Hungerford notes:

We haven’t slowed down since launching BBM for iPhone and Android in October and BBM Channels for BlackBerry 10 and BBOS in November. We’ve been working on some new ways to make it faster and easier to share with your BBM contacts. Whether it’s talking with BBM Voice, connecting over a BBM Channel, sending a quick photo, or even sharing your location, there’s more to BBM than just chatting.

If you can’t see the video embedded above, please click here.

Perhaps the most notable upcoming addition to BBM for iOS is BBM Voice, which allows for free voice calls to any BBM contact anywhere in the world.

There’s also the aforementioned BBM Channels, which make for engaging conversations based on certain interests and ideas.

Also set to be brought to BBM for iOS are faster sharing of photos, faster sending of voice notes, and temporary location sharing in chats. Oh, and new emoticons — a hundred of them — are also set to be added to the app.

Currently in beta testing, these features are expected to be released in the next couple of months. Check them out in the preview video above.

BBM is available in the App Store for free. It’s optimized for iPhone running iOS 6.0 or later, although it’s been opened up to iPod touch and iPad users without cellular data connections as well.