BBM Voice added to BlackBerry Messenger

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Users can now make free calls over Wi-Fi to other BBM subscribers as part of the latest upgrade to the instant messaging service

Research In Motion (RIM) has added BBM voice to its BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) service, enabling customers to make free calls to other BBM users over Wi-Fi.

The new addition comes with the latest update of the service, BBM version 7.

Customers can now make a BBM Voice call directly, or instantly switch from a BBM text chat to talk, and back again. The feature is compatible with any accessories a customer has now for making voice calls on their BlackBerry, such as a Bluetooth or wired headset.

A split-screen feature enables customers to talk and text at the same time. They can also check other BBM text chats, email or navigate apps while on a BBM Voice call.

BBM version 7 can also be integrated with a customer’s BlackBerry ID, which is designed to back up their BBM profile, groups and contacts so they can automatically be restored if they switch to a new BlackBerry, including a BlackBerry 10 device.

BBM version 7 with the BBM Voice feature is available in Beta for BlackBerrys running BlackBerry 6 OS or above, with support planned for smartphones running the BlackBerry 5 OS at a later date. The Beta can be downloaded for free from BlackBerry Beta Zone.

RIM vice president of BBM and social communities T.A, McCann said: “With today’s announcement we’re expanding the capabilities of the service for deeper social engagement and even greater collaboration, beginning with voice functionality.

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 expanding complicated details, and collaborating with colleagues.”

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