RIM Introduces BBM Voice, Free Voice Calling Over Wi-Fi For BBM Users
With RIM’s BlackBerry 10 announcement earlier this week – now officially launching on January 30th, 2013 – there seems to be some much needed enthusiasm running through their veins. Today the company has declared that their popular BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) service will be updated to version 7.0 and brings a bunch of new features.
BBM 7.0 will move away from just text with the addition of BBM Voice — free Wi-Fi calling between all BlackBerry Messenger users. If you’re interested in trying it out, the open beta starts today. Much as BBM initially led the move towards platform-specific messaging as a way to save on text message costs, RIM’s new integrated Wi-Fi calling solution could provide a simple way for users to save on voice minutes — so long as they have Wi-Fi available. It’s a big addition to the BBM real-time chat app, a service that T.A. McCann, RIM’s VP of BBM and Social Communities says “we pioneered and is now being copied by many.”
From the looks of things, initiating a call through BBM Voice is quite simple and cleanly integrated into the service. Users will see an icon that represents the voice availability of their BBM contacts, and a simple press of the “dial” key (or the dial icon on a touchscreen-equipped BlackBerry) will request that the receiver join a voice call. Once the call is started, users can jump back into chat to send images or other content, will full multitasking available in other apps and full compatibility with speakerphone or Bluetooth headsets.
BBM 7 will also see 16 new emoticons, including a “hang loose” sign, mad, camera icon, lightbulb, sun, rain, thunderstorm, snow, tired and what looks to be dizzy. Also coming in the upgrade is an In App Upgrade Notification that will do just that, notify you when an BBM update is available (works for OS 5, 6, 7 devices). Finally, RIM has also linked your BBM info (display name, picture, contacts, groups) directly to your BBID, thus making it eventually easier to switch/upgrade to BlackBerry 10 without any frustration.
BBM 7 will be available to the masses “before the end of the year,” but if you’re interested to give it a go now you can head on over to the Beta Zone and download BBM version 7 and BBM Voice.
Check out the Press Release below :
[toggle_box title=”Press Release” width=”Width of toggle box”]
For the times when you want to hear a friend’s laughter instead of reading LOL, BlackBerry® Messenger (BBM™) is taking the social networking experience to a whole new level with an exciting new feature called BBM Voice. Research In Motion (RIM) (NASDAQ:RIMM)(TSX:RIM) today announced BBM version 7, a free update for the globally popular mobile social network, which will allow customers to make free voice calls to other BBM customers around the world over a Wi-Fi® connection*.
BBM is a fast, convenient and inexpensive service for BlackBerry® customers that gives them the ability to instantly chat with a friend, family member or colleague, and know when their message has been delivered, and read. With the new version of BBM, customers have a new option – they can talk with their BBM contact across the globe for free over a Wi-Fi connection. In an instant, customers can switch between texting and talking, or talk and text at the same time. For consumers, especially in developing markets, the BBM Voice feature offers an attractive way to talk with friends and family near and far, and staying in contact will be easier than ever as the holiday season approaches. For business customers, BBM Voice allows for enriched collaboration.
“BBM is the quick, easy way to stay connected to the people that matter to you, and with today’s announcement we’re expanding the capabilities of the service for deeper social engagement and even greater collaboration, beginning with voice functionality,” said T.A. McCann, Vice President of BBM and Social Communities at RIM. “The new BBM Voice feature is for when you’re travelling and you want to call home without worrying about phone charges. It’s for when you have news you can’t wait to share, for quickly explaining complicated details, and collaborating with colleagues. Whenever your ideas are too big for text, there’s BBM Voice.”
BBM Voice includes a number of convenient features.
- Customers can initiate a BBM Voice call directly, or instantly switch from a BBM text chat to talk, and back again.
- The split-screen feature allows customers to talk and text at the same time, so for example, they can send a picture to their contact while talking with them. They can also check other BBM text chats, check email, or navigate to other apps while engaged on a BBM Voice call.
- BBM provides a visual indicator that shows when contacts are available for a voice call.
- BBM Voice is compatible with any accessories a customer has now for making voice calls on their BlackBerry smartphone, such as a Bluetooth® or wired headset. Customers can also use BBM Voice over their BlackBerry smartphone’s speakerphone.
- If it’s not an ideal time to talk, customers can simply choose to respond by texting back.
Another important feature of BBM version 7 is its integration with a customer’s BlackBerry ID, which is designed to back up their BBM profile, groups and contacts so they can automatically be restored in the event they switch to a new BlackBerry smartphone, including to a BlackBerry® 10 device.
BBM version 7 with the new BBM Voice feature is currently available in Beta for BlackBerry smartphones running the BlackBerry® 6 OS or higher with support planned for smartphones running the BlackBerry 5 OS at a future date. The Beta can be downloaded for free from BlackBerry Beta Zone**. Customers can sign up to BlackBerry Beta Zone for free at www.BlackBerry.com/betazone.
For more information about BBM, please visit www.blackberry.com/bbm.
* BBM requires a BlackBerry service plan. The BBM Voice feature requires a Wi-Fi connection with access to the Internet and may not be available in all markets.
** BlackBerry Beta Zone is not available in all markets.