Just a few weeks after announcing its arrival in the Beta Zone, Research in Motion has opened the gates and is making BlackBerry Messanger version 7 available to the public. The free update to the mobile social network brings some significant changes for those that still do the majority of their chatting on a Blackberry device. It’s available today to folks running running BlackBerry 6 OS or higher. If you’re still using 5, expect the update to roll out to you sometime early next year.
Research in Motion seems most excited about the addition of BBM Voice. A new way to communicate within the messenger service, BBM Voice will allow users to make Wi-Fi free voice calls to their contact list. Beta testers seemed rather pleased with the feature, as is Vice President of BBM T.A. McCann, who stated, “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.”
Also making an appearance in BBM 7 is the ability to multitask while engaged in conversation with split-screen, an additional indicator in the contacts list to show when a person is available for a voice call, direct update notifications, 16 new emoticons (in case there is anything you can’t express via voice but can sum up with a tiny animated face), and BlackBerry ID synchronization that will store profiles and contact information. The ID sync likely comes to make the switch to Blackberry 10 more convenient. We just hope those new emoticons make the jump to the new operating system as well.