BlackBerry Messenger is already a hugely popular service, perhaps even one of the most successful elements of the BlackBerry infrastructure and it’s now able to tote a brand new feature; BBM Voice.
As part of version 7 of the messenger service, BBM Voice will enable users to talk as they would in a typical phone call, albeit over a WiFi connection. The new feature can be used as an alternative to text-based chat, a user can swap between voice and chat or they can be used simultaneously, using a split screen interface, however a user would likely have to then opt for a wired or Bluetooth headset (which the new service is confirmed to support) for practicality sake.
T.A. McCann, VP of BBM and Social Communities at RIM said, “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. 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.”
The service will be included at no extra cost to BlackBerry users and contacts whose devices also support BBM Voice will be marked with a special indicator. Presently, the new version is only supported by RIM handsets running BBOS 6 or newer, but plans to extend the feature back to BBOS 5 devices are said to be on the cards. The new version of BBM will also tie into a user’s BBID and back up their BBM profile including contacts and groups so they can carry everything across to a new device.
If you’re interested in grabbing a slice of this new vocal BBM, you can pick up BBM version 7 from the BlackBerry Beta Zone here.