New BlackBerry Messenger adds voice

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.

BBM7 promotional video from Research in Motion.

Source | IT World Canada

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras is a technology journalist with IT World Canada and a member of the IT Business team. He began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada and the channel for Computer Dealer News. His writing has also appeared in the Vancouver Sun & the Ottawa Citizen.

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