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BlackBerry 7 Fights Back With ‘Free Calls’

BlackBerry launched Messenger (BBM) 7 overnight, offering BBM Voice – free VoIP calls to BBM contacts – anywhere in the world via Wi-Fi.

The free update to BBM 7 is available for all phones on BlackBerry 6 OS or higher.

BlackBerry Messenger in the past was a major pull for consumers, particularly the youth market in the UK and US who didn’t have to pay for messages to other BBM contacts, before the likes of Whats App and Viper came into play.

Other features on BBM7 include: multi-tasking with split-screen – BBM users can talk, check other BBM text chats, emails, or navigate to other apps while on a BBM voice call.

BBM 7 also has a visual indicator which tells them which contacts are available for a voice call – like Skype – and 16 new emoticons,  similar to Whats App.

BlackBerry has also made ID Synchronisation easier and a users BBM profile, groups and contacts are now linked to their BBID for easy backup and restore.

Early Beta testers said “The voice feature [on BBM 7] is easy to use and the audio quality is excellent” and over 80% of testers said that they were likely to recommend BBM 7 version.

T.A. McCann, Vice President of BBM sais the struggling maker is taking BBM “to the next level.”

“BBM began as a convenient and effective business messaging tool, and today it is an essential part of daily communications for customers around the world. Now, with BBM version 7, customers have a new option: they can text and talk with their BBM contacts near and far, for free.

BBM 7 with BBM Voice is now available for all BlackBerrys running on BB OS 6 or higher but says it plans to support BlackBerry 5 OS early next year.

The BBM 7 software update can be downloaded for free at appworld.blackberry.com/webstore/content/3729/.