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Blackberry Messenger gets Voice over Wi-Fi!

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Whatsapp meets Viber… This is what I would call what Blackberry Messenger (fondly called BBM) has decided to do.

BBM needs no introduction and it is one of the key components what made Blackberry what it is was.

Blackberry has now decided to beef up its Messenger to add even more functionality to it. The newest version, 7, of BBM can now be used to call other BBM users over WiFi. It would have been better if this functionality extended to Cellular connections as well, but it is a good start nonetheless.

BBM Voice App

This is now a much needed capability which people are using more often with companies going global. Blackberry is a predominant Enterprise solution company. Their phones still find a soft corner in the hearts of professionals and with this functionality, Blackberry has given them something to be happy about till BB OS 10 comes out.

BBM 7 will be available for BB OS 6.0 onwards with support for OS 5.0 also coming in the future. Right now, it is in the beta phase and you can get it here.

The salient features are-

  1. Customers can initiate a BBM Voice call directly, or instantly switch from a BBM text chat to talk, and back again.
  2. 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.
  3. BBM provides a visual indicator that shows when contacts are available for a voice call.
  4. 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.
  5. If it’s not an ideal time to talk, customers can simply choose to respond by texting back.

Looking at these features we can say that the focus is completely on productivity. Also, BBM 7 is now integrated with customer’s Blackberry ID. This is a welcome addition as it will make switching to a new Blackberry phone for a person more streamlined.

It is good to see Blackberry in action again. They have already pinpointed the date for the release of their new OS and with this update it looks like Blackberry is preparing itself for a good fight. Though it may be too little, a bit too late.

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