RIM has released BlackBerry Messenger 7 (BBM 7) complete with BBM Voice support, adding WiFi calling to the popular messaging service. The new app, headed to the BlackBerry App World today, currently works with BlackBerry OS 6 devices and above, and as well as allowing for simple switching between text messages and voice calls, adds several other new features.
There are sixteen new emoticons, shown below, as well as BBM upgrade notifications within the app itself, allowing users to easily switch to each new version. Finally, there's BBID sync, pulling in the BBM profile, Groups, and Contacts, and linking them to each user's BlackBerry ID.
It's BBM Voice which will get the most attention, however, RIM's attempt to keep the messaging system competitive with rivals such as Apple's iMessage and Google's Gchat. A single voice button in the top right hand corner of each text conversation begins a call, directly from the chat itself, rather than forcing the user to go through the contacts app.
RIM says BlackBerry 5 devices will get BBM Voice functionality in the new year, and the calls are free over WiFi. It may take 24hrs or so for the new app to arrive in your local version of the App World, so keep checking.