UPDATE: Research In Motion's BBM Voice feature is now out of beta and available to all users with OS 7 or newer.
ORIGINAL: Research In Motion has introduced a new app called BBM Voice, which allows users of the company's popular BlackBerry Messenger service to have a voice chat over wifi.
RIM says BBM Voice is “for the times when you want to hear a friend’s laughter instead of reading LOL."
Customers can initiate a BBM Voice call directly, or instantly switch from a BBM text chat to talk, and back again. A split-screen feature allows customers to talk and text at the same time. And users can also check email or navigate to other apps while engaged on a BBM Voice call.
“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. “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."
BBM version 7 is currently available on a beta basis for BlackBerry smartphones running OS 6 or later.