After some whispers of a launch, RIM’s instant messenging client BlackBerry Messenger has been updated to version 6.0. Since this has been in beta for awhile now, we’re already well-acquainted with many of the features. First and foremost is BBM Social connectivity, which lets third-party apps interact with BlackBerry Messenger contacts and profiles. A perfect example might be the Foursquare which was recently updated to show your last check-in on your BBM status. A bunch of other apps are also going to be compatible, incuding one of my favourites, Poynt. Using their location-based search app, you can quickly send restaurant information to friends through BBM. Of course Wikitude will also be available on RIM’s OS 7 devices, so you can see all your BBM buddies in augmented reality; just point your phone’s camera in any direction, and it will show you who’s there. BBM 6.0 has a few other solid features, like sharing location, podcasts, and links with groups of friends, as well as sending native calendar appointments.
With mobile instant messaging clients now a dime-a-dozen, BBM isn’t much of a selling point. Sure, it’s immediate, and enterprises can rest assured that it’s secure, but even something as simple as Google Talk has the same level of native address book integration, and works cross-platform. More focussed third-party options like WhatsApp even make a point to offer group chat and file transfers, leaving BBM to seem closed and limited. For RIM’s sake, I hope the BBM Social SDK will catch on among developers and turn BlackBerry Messenger into more than just another IM client. How successful do you guys figure RIM will be in reaching that goal?
Those of you interested in upgrading will be able to find BBM 6.0 in BlackBerry App World over here.