Research in Motion (RIMM) updated its BlackBerry Messenger to version 7 on Monday, adding a new key feature called “BBM Voice” that “will allow customers to make free voice calls to their BBM contacts around the world over a Wi-Fi connection.” BBM 7 also introduces multitasking with split-screen, which allows users to BBM, check email, or use other apps while on a BBM Voice call; new compatibility with Bluetooth headsets and accessories, 16 new emoticons; direct BBM Update Notification that provides in-app alerts when new versions of an app are available and an easier way to synchronize BBM profiles; Groups; and Contacts with BBIDs for simpler backup and restores. BBM 7 is available as a free update for all BlackBerry smartphones running BlackBerry 6 OS or higher. Users on BlackBerry OS 5 will get BBM Voice “early next year.”
Former Research In Motion co-chief executive Jim Balsillie sought a radical shift in strategy before he stepped down, Reuters reported on Friday. Citing two unnamed sources, the publication claims Balsillie wanted to allow wireless companies in North America and Europe to use RIM’s proprietary network for services on non-BlackBerry devices. The plan would help carriers entice customers to upgrade from feature phones to smartphones and allow them to offer inexpensive data plans that were limited to social media and instant messaging via the company’s BlackBerry Messenger service. Despite RIM’s network bringing in nearly $1 billion each quarter, the plan was vetoed, leading to Balsillie’s resignation soon after he stepped down as co-CEO. The Blackberry-maker will instead focus more on its next-generation BlackBerry 10-powered smartphones, and on regaining enterprise momentum. More →
According to a recent job posting, Research In Motion may be looking to enter the iOS app market. The posting, which was spotted by AllThingsD, has since been removed, but a screen grab indicates that the company is seeking a Senior iOS Mobile Developer to build enterprise applications. More specifically, RIM needed “an experienced iOS/Objective-C developer capable of architecting, designing, developing and testing complex applications for iPhone and iPad devices.” Along with 7 to 10 years of programing experience, the job requires at least two years of professional experience in writing iOS apps, which candidates “must be able to show application from the App Store that they have written at interview.” It isn’t clear why RIM is looking for an iOS developer, however the company may be looking for help bringing its services to other platforms. BGR exclusively reported in May that RIM was planning to bring its popular BlackBerry Messenger app to Android and iOS.
UPDATE: Looks like the wait for BBM on iOS continues. A RIM spokesperson provided AllThingsD with the following comment: “In order for BlackBerry Mobile Fusion to perform advanced management functions for iOS devices, RIM will develop an on device client to be included as part of the overall solution.”
The Indonesian government has threatened to ban Research In Motion’s BlackBerry Messenger and BIS services in the country following the company’s decision to install a server in Singapore instead of in Indonesia. “Because RIM has not been cooperative, it is possible that we will soon end BIS (BlackBerry Internet Service) and BBM service,” a member of the Indonesian Telecommunication Regulatory Authority BRTI told The Jakarta Post. “BlackBerry therefore, would just be like other cellular phones.” RIM told the Indonesian government it would build a “server or data center” in the country as one of four promises it said would be completed by December 31st, The Jakarta Post explained. Read on for more. More →
BGR exclusively reported earlier today that Research In Motion was facing serious challenges getting native apps such as email, BlackBerry Messenger and more working on the BlackBerry PlayBook. In a post blog a few minutes ago, the company has confirmed that the PlayBook OS 2.0 update won’t be released until February. Additionally, RIM also relayed issues with BlackBerry Messenger integration, noting that BlackBerry Messenger will not be included in the native apps bundle of PlayBook OS 2.0, instead coming at a later date.
“We are committed to developing a seamless BBM solution that fully delivers on the powerful, push based messaging capabilities recognized today by BlackBerry users around the world and we’re still working on it.”
The company confirmed that BlackBerry Messenger can still be used by connecting an existing BlackBerry smartphone with data plan over Bluetooth to the BlackBerry PlayBook using BlackBerry Bridge. Read on for a link to RIM’s full announcement. More →
BGR exclusively reported in March that Research In Motion was working to bring its popular BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) platform to Android smartphones and the iPhone. Now, images that purportedly show a beta version of the chat application running on an Android device have been leaked by TechRadar. Reportedly, the app is set to launch on Android before next year and RIM is already in the final stages of testing the solution. The leak lines up with BGR’s original report that RIM would develop an Android client before an iOS version. In addition, BGR reported that RIM will likely limit the features of BBM on iOS and Android in an effort to woo users who want a more robust BBM experience back to a BlackBerry. RIM has plenty of stiff competition in the chat space, however. Applications such as Kik, Skype-owned GroupMe, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger all offer similar features and are available across multiple mobile platforms, and Apple’s iMessage service will launch this month with iOS 5. Hit the jump for a second image that provides a better look at the UI.
UPDATE: As pointed out by a tweet from Chris Parsons, it appears as though the image used in the screenshot below was pieced together from a marketing shot posted by RIM in August. More →
BlackBerry maker Research In Motion has agreed to work with London authorities as they begin their investigation into recent riots. According to some Londoners, rioters were using RIM’s BlackBerry Messenger service, along with social networks such as Twitter, to organize the attacks. “It is clear that technology is being used, including in demonstrations, to direct people and undermine the police,” London’s deputy assistant commissioner Stephen Kavanagh told Bloomberg. “It is not for us to to moan about this, but to adapt policing style and deal with it.” RIM typically prides itself on the security of its BBM service and has denied access to governments worried the chat platform could be used for planning terrorist attacks. “We feel for those impacted by the riots in London,” RIM wrote in a recent tweet. “We have engaged with the authorities to assist in any way we can.” Read on for more. More →
During the BlackBerry World Keynote in Orlando this morning, Research In Motion announced that it is working with foursquare to include support for the social-network in an upcoming version of BlackBerry Messenger. Users will be able to share their location information as their BBM status, but RIM execs didn’t go into much detail on how check-ins will work or just how feature rich the implementation will be. The native foursquare client, for example, allows users to find nearby deals, compete with friends for check-in points, and more. RIM did not say when the client would make its debut, although we suspect it will be around the launch of its BlackBerry 7 powered Bold 9900, which will occur later this summer. More →
PlayBook owners over on the CrackBerry forums have discovered that, after applying a new BlackBerry Bridge v184.108.40.206 update, they were able to use BBM on their BlackBerry PlayBooks. The feature reportedly only works with BlackBerry 6 devices right now, although there are rumblings that a BlackBerry OS 5 version is in the works as well. You’ll also need to update your BlackBerry Messenger application to the newest version first, and that should be available from RIM’s BlackBerry Beta Zone. Unfortunately some users are reporting that the new Bridge update is causing some lag on their phones, though, so you may want to hold off until RIM issues a release build of the software. Judging from the picture above, we’re definitely digging the multi-frame layout with the BBM buddy list on the left side and conversation view on the right. More →
With BlackBerry World set to kick off early next month, you can expect BlackBerry-related leaks to keep rolling in hot and heavy for the next few weeks. We’ve already exclusively handled RIM’s upcoming flagship smartphones — the BlackBerry Bold Touch, the BlackBerry Torch 2 and the BlackBerry Touch (Monaco/Monza) — but there are plenty more goodies just waiting to be unearthed. Expected to launch alongside BlackBerry OS 6.1, screenshots of BlackBerry Messenger have been posted to a BlackBerry enthusiast forum. The images show a slightly redesigned look and minor UX enhancements, but the full feature list is still unknown so there may still be a few tidbits yet to be revealed. It might not be the version of BBM we’re all anxious to see RIM launch, but it’s never a bad thing when the company adds new features to its beloved BlackBerry Messenger. More →
We knew this story was a hoax when we first saw it, but we reached out to Research In Motion to get an official comment from the company. RIM tells us that rumors that BlackBerry Messenger might launch as an app for Apple’s iPhone on April 26th, is false. “RIM did not hold a conference in Toronto this week, and Jim Balsillie did not speak at any event in Toronto this week.” We’re not saying it isn’t coming at some point in the future, but BlackBerry Messenger is definitely not hitting the App Store on April 26th.