RIM Launches BBM Voice, Free Wi-Fi Calling to Other BBM Contacts

The new service is included in the latest BBM 7 available in Beta Zone

Shortly after unveiling the upcoming release date of its next BlackBerry operating system, BlackBerry 10, RIM announced the immediate availability of a new service, which will probably be extremely popular in emerging markets, BBM Voice.

With BBM Voice, BlackBerry users will be able to make free calls to other BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) contacts around the world over a Wi-Fi connection.

According to Research In Motion (RIM), the new BBM Voice service is included in the latest version of BBM 7, which is now available for download via BlackBerry Beta Zone. BBM Voice will arrive globally as a free update.

BBM 7 provides users with a new option, which will allow them to talk with their BBM contact across the globe for free over a Wi-Fi connection. Basically, they will be able to switch between texting and talking, or talk and text at the same time.

BBM Voice offers a split-screen feature allowing users to talk and text at the same time. In order to engage in a Wi-Fi call, BBM will provide users with a visual indicator that shows when contacts are available for a voice call. It's also compatible with any Bluetooth accessories speakerphone.

The latest version of BBM comes with BlackBerry ID integration, which was especially created to back up BBM profiles, groups and contacts, so they can be automatically be restored users switch to new BlackBerry smartphone.

BBM version 7 with the new BBM Voice feature is currently available in Beta and it should be fully compatible with all smartphones running the BlackBerry 6 OS or higher. RIM also promised it would add support for devices running BlackBerry 5 OS at a future date.

“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.

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