BlackBerry Messenger 7 Public Beta Goes Live with Free Voice Calling

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RIM has announced that BlackBerry Messenger 7 has begun an open beta in Beta Zone. BBM is receiving an outstanding new feature in BBM7: free voice calls.

BBM Voice allows you to call anyone on your BBM list for free. I’ve seen a few apps that emulate this functionality on the iOS platform and I’m excited to see it come to BlackBerry as a BBM feature. It reminds me a bit of the Push to Talk features that have been built in to some CDMA BlackBerry devices for years, except this system isn’t carrier-specific.

The new BBM Voice feature requires a WiFi connection for both parties a lot like the BlackBerry PlayBook video chat. Users know which contacts are free to receive calls by way of active status icons. While engaged in a BBM Voice call, users can still navigate to other BBM conversations or do anything else on the phone that they wish short of making other voice calls.

The free calling system also supports any mic and speakerphone accessory that you use for regular calls. Switching between accessories is handled through the BlackBerry menu.

Also new in this version is BBID synchronization making for easier device migration. This will insure that your contacts are intact when you make the switch to BlackBerry 10.

Click here to go to BlackBerry Beta Zone. Sign up and try out the new BBM 7.0 with your friends.