It's been less than 48 hours since BlackBerry Messenger 126.96.36.199 was released. As you can see from the screenshot, BBM 5 brings a new interface and a ton of new features. One of the best features is the ability to add an avatar image of your choosing. You can show of your looks (although in my case I lost friends :( ) or your favorite team. I'm sure there is a ::bbos:: logo or two around here you can use as well!
Another HUGE feature is the ability to scan barcodes instead of entering a PIN number or email address to add a friend. Each BBM 5 user has their own personal barcode. In fact, each group has their own barcode as well. When adding a friend, simple select "Scan a person's barcode" and your BB camera app will open. Hold your camera in front of the code and POOF! The image is scanned and an invitation is sent! It can't get much easier than this.
Groups? What are groups? In a word - Awesome! BBM Groups allow you to have real-time chat-like communication with up to 30 people. You can share and comment on photos, upload and transfer files, and even share tasks and calendar appointments. The creator of the group is the Administrator, but can assign privileges to other users. It's a great way to communicate in real-time without worrying about emails or phone calls.
As you can see in the image, you have several options in the "Group Activities" screen:
- Members - shows all Group members
- Chat - opens the current "chat room" or group discussion
- Pictures - view all pictures uploaded by the group
- Lists - task list for the group
- Calendar - upload/send appointments to group members
The "Group Updates" section shows you all the updates such as name changes, avatar changes, or a change in status. It also shows if a member has invited someone else to the group or privileges have been changed.
The "Group Chat" screen shows all communication between members in real time. Think of the new BBM Group feature as your own personal, portable chat room. This feature all but eliminates email between you and your team. One thing to note: some users are experiencing lag when participating in a group chat. There are a number of reasons this can happen, for instance signal strength, group activity, or network activity. Hopefully these issues will pass.
Do you need approval before posting an image online? I know I do. BBM Groups makes this simple. When an image is posted, all members can not only view the image, but can comment on it as well. The image can be downloaded by anyone, modified and re-posted.
In groups, all changes made to a member profile automatically populate the "Updates" screen. "Cruzn" made a change to his profile picture and Neppers...well we have no idea what Neppers is doing.
Another interesting new feature is Enhanced SMS/Integrated messaging. Guys, this is bad news for us. Our "honey-do" list just became digital. My beautiful wife (she pays me to call her that) added a stop on my trip home. Notice the phone icon in her message? She sent this message via SMS on her Pearl Flip. Because she is in my contact list and has a berry, BBM automatically merged the message into messenger. The great thing? I only have one place to go to review my messages. The bad? She receives delivery confirmation :( .
No, that is not a link to the 80's website for "Motley Crue". It is an icon that takes me directly to our BBM Group. Notifications display just like any other app letting you know instantly that there is group activity, directly from your home-screen. Too bad the icon doesn't come in red :( . *Cough NATE? Cough* Another thing worth mentioning is the battery meter. We've noticed that with BBM constantly monitoring for group activity, your battery takes some abuse. I've been off the charger for a little more than an hour and you can see the drain. Of course, I've been emailing and messaging like crazy. Just keep that thought in the back of your mind before you leave the house without your trusty car charger.
Our job at ::bbos:: is fairly simple. We help educate our members about everything Berry. If, at the end of the day our members know more about their devices than they did that morning, we've done our job. The great thing is we get to learn a lot along the way as well. So from here, we turn it over to you!
What hidden easter eggs have you found tucked away inside messenger? Are you finding you use it more than before? Why? How? Which groups are you a member of? Which ones did you create? Jump in! The water's fine!