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BlackBerry Messenger 7 adds free voice calls

December 11, 2012 • Gadgets and Gaming

Research In Motion today launched BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) version 7, a free update for the globally popular mobile social network.

Research In Motion today launched BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) version 7, a free update for the globally popular mobile social network (image: RIM)

A key new feature of the update will allow customers to make free voice calls to their BBM contacts around the world over a Wi-Fi connection. The feature is an inexpensive way to stay connected with friends, family and colleagues.

The Beta version of BBM 7 with the new BBM Voice feature was made available to the public through BlackBerry Beta Zone on November 14. Beta testers were excited and pleased with the update, generating comments such as: “The voice feature is easy to use and the audio quality is excellent.”

Some BBM Stats:

* When RIM surveyed customers who downloaded the Beta, over 80% of testers said that they were likely to recommend BBM version 7.

* In the same survey, 90% of testers said that they would use BBM Voice while travelling to keep in touch.

* Nearly half of BBM customers have international contacts and can benefit from free Wi-Fi calls.

“BBM began as a convenient and effective business messaging tool, and today it is an essential part of daily communications for customers around the world. Now, with BBM version 7, customers have a new option: they can text and talk with their BBM contacts near and far, for free. With the integrated experience, we extend the core features of reliable, real-time engagement to include voice calling and take BBM to the next level,” said T.A. McCann, Vice President of BBM and Social Communities at RIM.

What Else is New in BBM 7 with BBM Voice?

Multi-tasking with Split-screen feature – Customers can do more while they talk, such as check other BBM text chats, check email, or navigate to other apps while engaged on a BBM Voice call. They can start a call in an instant, and switch between texting and talking, or text and talk at the same time. They can also for example, send a picture to a contact while they are talking with them.

* Clear Visual Indicator – Customers can see when contacts are available for a voice call.

* Convenient Compatibility with Accessories – Customers can use their favourite accessories, such as a Bluetooth or wired headset, or use the BlackBerry smartphone’s speakerphone.

* 16 New Emoticons – Available in the final software released today, customers will see a slate of new emoticons offer them fresh, fun ways to express themselves in text chats.

* Direct BBM Update Notification – BBM will now notify a customer when there is an update from within the app, and allow them to download it immediately from inside the app.

* Simple BlackBerry ID Synchronization – A customer’s BBM profile, Groups and Contacts are now linked to their BBID for easy backup and restore. The data will also carry over when they move to BlackBerry 10.

BBM 7 with BBM Voice is now available for all BlackBerry smartphones running the BlackBerry 6 OS or higher with support planned for smartphones running the BlackBerry 5 OS early next year. The BBM 7 software update can be downloaded for free at appworld.blackberry.com/webstore/content/3729/.

For more news on BlackBerry and other gadgets, click here.

Staff writer

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