One of the few remaining differentiators for Research in Motion’s BlackBerry smartphones is its BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) service, and with the launch of BBM 7 this week RIM is looking to build on that differentiator by adding a new capability: voice.
BBM Voice is included as part of BBM 7, a free update for BlackBerry users that is now available for download. It allows users to make free voice calls to other BBM contacts when they have a WiFi connection.
Other new features in BBM 7 include a split-screen feature for multi-tasking, a clear visual indicator to see when contacts are free for a call, 16 new emoticons, direct BBM update notification and simple BlackBerry ID synchronization.
According to a report from IT World Canada, RIM says BBM Voice could save businesses money by using the service to make voice calls instead of their cellular connection. An analyst also added it will be of interest to business users as an alternative to corporate communications systems.
The BBM7 update with BBM voice is available now for users running BlackBerry 6 OS or higher, and will be available for BlackBerry OS 5 users early next year.