After recently declaring the announcement date of the BlackBerry 10 operating system, Research in Motion (RIM) has now announced the BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) version 7. It is a free update for the mobile social network, which will allow customers to make free voice calls to other BBM customers around the world over a Wi-Fi connection.
BBM is a service for BlackBerry customers that gives them the ability to instantly chat with their contacts, and know when their messages have been delivered, and read. With the new version of BBM, customers have a new option — they can talk with their BBM contact across the globe for free over a Wi-Fi connection. In an instant, customers can switch between texting and talking, or talk and text at the same time. Research In Motion also claims that it can be beneficial for business customers as BBM Voice allows for enriched collaboration.
More power to the chat with BBM Voice
“BBM is the quick, easy way to stay connected to the people that matter to you, and with today's announcement we're expanding the capabilities of the service for deeper social engagement and even greater collaboration, beginning with voice functionality,” said T.A. McCann, Vice President of BBM and Social Communities at RIM. “The new BBM Voice feature is for when you're travelling and you want to call home without worrying about phone charges. It's for when you have news you can't wait to share, for quickly explaining complicated details, and collaborating with colleagues. Whenever your ideas are too big for text, there's BBM Voice.”
BBM Voice includes a number of features:
- Customers can initiate a BBM Voice call directly, or instantly switch from a BBM text chat to talk, and back again.
- The split-screen feature allows customers to talk and text at the same time, so for example, they can send a picture to their contact while talking with them. They can also check other BBM text chats, check email, or navigate to other apps while engaged on a BBM Voice call.
- BBM provides a visual indicator that shows when contacts are available for a voice call.
- BBM Voice is compatible with any accessories a customer has now for making voice calls on their BlackBerry smartphone, such as a Bluetooth or wired headset. Customers can also use BBM Voice over their BlackBerry smartphone's speakerphone.
- If it's not an ideal time to talk, customers can simply choose to respond by texting back.
Research in Motion states that another important feature of BBM version 7 is its integration with a customer's BlackBerry ID. The integration is designed to back up the customers' BBM profile, groups, and contacts, so they can automatically be restored in the event they switch to a new BlackBerry smartphone, including to a BlackBerry 10 device.
BBM version 7 with the new BBM Voice feature is currently available in Beta for BlackBerry smartphones running on the BlackBerry 6 OS or higher with support planned for smartphones running on the BlackBerry 5 OS at a future date. The Beta can be downloaded for free from BlackBerry Beta Zone. Customers can sign up to BlackBerry Beta Zone for free here.
For more information about BBM, click here.
BBM requires a BlackBerry service plan. The BBM Voice feature requires a Wi-Fi connection with access to the Internet and may not be available in all markets. BlackBerry Beta Zone is not available in all markets.
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