New BlackBerry Messenger will offer free voice calls

BlackBerry has announced today that its messenger service will now allow its customers to make voice calls.

Manufacturers Research In Motion (RIM) says users of BBM version 7, a mobile messenger service that connects BlackBerry customers, will now be able to call each other for free via the service using a Wi-Fi connection.

The new addition will be called BBM Voice and allows customers to talk and text at the same time, so they can send a picture to their contact while talking with them. They can also check other text chats, check email, or navigate to other apps while engaged on a voice call.

RIM says the service is ideal for those wanting a cheap and convenient way to contact family or friends across the world- acting in a similar but more limited capacity to Skype.

"The new BBM Voice feature is for when you're travelling and you want to call home without worrying about phone charges. Whenever your ideas are too big for text, there's BBM Voice," said T.A. McCann, Vice President of BBM and Social Communities at RIM.

BBM version 7 with the new voice feature is currently available in Beta for BlackBerry smartphones running the BlackBerry 6 OS.