In what is likely the largest update to BlackBerry Messenger in quite some time, BBM 6.1 has now landed in the BlackBerry Beta Zone. Normally, we'd be telling you it was just bugfixes added but not this time around. This time, we're actually getting a whole new set of key features to test out.
Key features include:
- Animated avatars* – Now you can access a selection of animated GIFs that come alive when you hover over the avatar. Three animated avatars are available as part of the beta as a sneak peak (including a ‘smile’, ‘laughter’ and ‘in love’) – with a greater selection to come at launch. You can access avatars when changing your display picture within the Avatars folder and can source your own animated GIFs
- 12 new emoticons – Add to the range of expressions available to enhance your conversations with12 new emoticons to choose from.
- Personal Message size increased to 160 characters – We’ve doubled the size of the personal message space to 160 characters. The previous limit was 80 characters.
- Colored chat bubbles – Customize the color of chat bubbles with 10 colors to choose from. You can pre-assign these colors to your contacts by simply going into your BBM contacts’ profile and selecting the desired contact chat color from the palette.
- Camera / Avatar Integration – Now you can update your BBM avatar right from the BlackBerry camera app by selecting “Set as BBM Display Picture” from the menu options.
Sounds pretty awesome! I've not yet had a chance to download it but, if you did -- by all means let everyone know what you think in the comments. If you've not received a notification to download it yet and are signed up for the BlackBerry Beta Zone, sit tight -- more should be invitations to test it out should be on their way soon.When you login, it's set up a new program so make sure you under 'eligible programs' -- not where previous versions are located.
With approximately a dozen new emoticons, you can easily show how you're feeling or what you're doing.
Longer Status Messages
The character limit for status messages has been increased. You can now share up to 160 characters!
Chat Bubble Colors
You can now specify a chat bubble color for contacts instead of using the default color for individual chats, multiperson chats, and BBM Group chats. You can return to the default color at any time.
Animated Display Pictures
You can now set animated .gif files as display pictures in BBM, and view other people's animated display pictures. Note: The picture needs to be square (the height and width, in pixels, are the same) and less than 32KB. If it's over that size, the first frame of the image will be converted to a jpeg image.
Display Picture Integration
You can quickly set a picture on your smartphone as your BBM display picture by selecting the Set As BBM Display Picture option from the menu.