RIM Releases BBM 7 With Free Wi-Fi Voice Calling

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Research In Motion continues to try to sweeten the pot for BlackBerry users, today releasing a BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) update to the public.

BBM Version 7, formerly available only in beta, comes with BBM Voice — RIM’s answer to free voice calls over Wi-Fi.

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been chatting with someone on BlackBerry Messenger, trying to explain something, and realize it’d be a lot easier to just pick up the phone and talk it out,” BlackBerry social media manager Donny Halliwell wrote in a blog post.

Along with new voice messaging, BBM 7 now synchronizes users’ BBM profile, groups, and contacts linked to their BlackBerry ID, offers notifications when updates are ready for download, and comes with 16 additional emoticons, when typed or spoken words just aren’t enough.

The phone maker announced the free voice calling over Wi-Fi in November, adding it to a beta version of BBM version 7. It allowed users to talk and text at the same time with the new split-screen function. Users can initiate a BBM Voice call directly, or switch from texting to talking, and vice versa.

BBM 7 is now available for free in the BlackBerry App World store for devices running the BB 6 operating system or higher. Halliwell said the company plans to provide support for BB 5 early next year. The app could take up to 24 hours to become available worldwide. At press time, the BlackBerry Messenger application was still available only in version 6.2.0.56 in New York.

New users are encouraged to leave feedback for the company, either on its blog or via Twitter (with the hashtag #BBMVoice). To get a better look at how BBM 7′s voice chat works, watch the video below. For more information about BBM Voice, check out RIM’s how-to video, as well.

Meanwhile, RIM’s BlackBerry 10 operating system is expected for release on Jan. 30, when the company will also unveil two new smartphones. For more, see PCMag’s Hands On with BlackBerry 10.

By Stephanie Mlot, PCMag


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