BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) is probably the most favorite app of diehard BlackBerry fans. It’s easy to use and makes messaging through Blackberry devices an easy thing to do and quickly become used to doing. It also serves as a prominent mobile social network for many Blackberry users.
With that in mind, Research in Motion (RIM) has continued to invest in the capability, and today announced it has now launched version 7, which will be provided to users as a free update. The company has done an excellent job of making BBM easy to use – it is a hallmark of the service, and RIM knows it – hence the continued investments.
A key new feature of the update - which has been well received in beta testing - will allow users to make free voice calls on a global basis to any BBM 7 contacts over a Wi-Fi connection. The feature is a fast, convenient – and most important an inexpensive means of staying connected with coworkers and colleagues and increasingly with friends and family as well. BBM does require a BlackBerry service plan.
The BBM 7 Voice feature specifically requires that other BBM users must also be on BBM 7 and connected to Wi-Fi (of course) in order for the new BBM Voice to establish a voice connection.
Through a recently conducted survey RIM gleaned some interesting statistics from its large pool of beta users:
T.A. McCann, vice president of BBM and Social Communities at RIM, notes that, “BBM began as a convenient and effective business messaging tool, and today it is an essential part of daily communications for BlackBerry 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.”
From a certain perspective this is yet another of those RIM moves that should strike one as more of an “It’s about time” than anything particularly new or revolutionary to the world of mobility. Hopefully, once the Blackberry 10 launch takes place on January 30, 2013 RIM will move to at least try to stay one step ahead of the curve (that means we hope RIM is able to offer true innovation) instead of several steps behind it. Doing so will be critical to any hoped for recovery.
What Else is New in BBM 7 with BBM Voice?
BBM 7 with BBM Voice is now available for use all BlackBerry smartphones that run BlackBerry OS 6 or higher. BBM Voice will also be available for older BlackBerry OS 5 users early next year as well. The BBM 7 software update can be immediately downloaded for free.
TechZone360 Senior Editor
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