RIM's new Voice service is integrated into its BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) bringing free calls between smartphones using a Wi-Fi internet connection. BBM Voice is available for download in its Beta form for those with a BlackBerry handset running OS 6 or higher. See also: Virgin Media SmartCall allows free calls over Wi-Fi.
T.A. McCann, vice president of BBM and Social Communities at RIM, said: "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. Whenever your ideas are too big for text, there’s BBM Voice."
RIM said customers can easily switch between BBM text and calling while a split-screen feature allows both at once. A visual indicator will notify users when a BBM contact is available for a Voice call.
Support for phones running BlackBerry OS 5 is planned for the future, said RIM. The firm will be hoping new features like this encourage customers to stay with BlackBerry devices until the arrival of its BlackBerry 10 operating system which will launch on 30 January next year.