Research in Motion has recently announced that with BBM 7, users can now make voice calls to other BBM users with a new feature called BBM Voice. BBM 7 is available now in BlackBerry App World for devices running BlackBerry 6 OS and higher with support planned for smartphones running the BlackBerry 5 OS early next year.

Commenting on the new feature, Research in Motion stated in a blog post that BBM 7 gives a user the choice on how you connect with their BBM contacts. It is designed so a user can seamlessly switch from a BBM message to a BBM Voice call for free over Wi-Fi.

Apart from adding the BBM voice feature, Research in Motion has also added some other features in BBM 7 such as:

  • BBM upgrade notifications – BBM will notify you when there are updates to download straight from within the app
  • BBID Synchronisation – your BBM profile, Groups and Contacts are linked to your BlackBerry ID
  • 16 Additional emoticons – more choices available

Research in Motion notes that hat it may take up to 24 hours for the app to be available in the BlackBerry App World storefront.

It was in mid-November that RIM had 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.

“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 at the time of the announcement of this new feature. “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.

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