BBM 6.1 now available in the BlackBerry Beta Zone - Adds animated avatars, new emoticons & more!

By Bla1ze on 17 Nov 2011 03:41 pm EST
BBM 6.1
BBM Icons

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.

Download BBM 6.1 Beta from the BlackBerry Beta Zone

More Emoticons

With approximately a dozen new emoticons, you can easily show how you're feeling or what you're doing.

BBM 6.1

Longer Status Messages

The character limit for status messages has been increased. You can now share up to 160 characters!

BBM 6.1

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.

BBM 6.1

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. 

BBM 6.1

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.

BBM 6.1

Reader comments

BBM 6.1 now available in the BlackBerry Beta Zone - Adds animated avatars, new emoticons & more!


yeah soz i ment to write beta zone and im a member but the download hasnt been loaded to the page yet :|

Do it up, looks nice with the color. I'm sure a better selection of color will come out, but it's a start.

LOOOOL im so stupid i was looking at 6.0 beta for bbm and no 6.1 and i been searching for it for the last hour X_X

it wont accept the keycode i was sent. its sending me a keycode with chinese characters...havent had that before.


I've been advocating for chat bubble color control since beta zone started.

DL-ing now. Looking forward to working on this beta and helping make it awesome!!

Very cool nice,job Rim. Now keep the coolness coming and keep churning out big updates to the top apps. i can see that you are starting to "focus" and i like it. :D

Love it , Not that big of a change except of course what was mentioned in the description , the new features are awesome !

David Banks

7 attempts and still get error at the end, any help?

I swore I would never do drugs or become addicted to anything.... Thanks RIM for making me a liar, I can't put this bitch down lol

Oohhh I was expecting customized led alerts (you can assign an specific color to an specific contact or goup of contacts), but nope. :-/

any luck yet? im on attempt 14 and still no luck

I swore I would never do drugs or become addicted to anything.... Thanks RIM for making me a liar, I can't put this bitch down lol

where the heck is the "avatar" folder? Anytime I try to change my profile pic, all i see are my own folders.

Took a while for Blackberry to implement these changes that were asked for by the people on Beta Zone, but glad to see it come! Can't wait to use it :D

Hopefully other suggestions will be added in the future, such as the VOIP suggestion.. that would be very nice

Any suggestions on clicking the accept button after pasting teh keycode? And yes I have installed many beta products. 3 Times installed this and the accept key cant be depressed. I have a 9860 :) Any help would be appreciated...

4th times the charm

finally, it's coming.. yeah it's coming, so come on RIM, fix it & make it official soon!! of course i'm expecting a completely stable build for the official release, and please.. this time, ensure no more scrolling bugs like the one found on the 6.0.0!

cool, some features that should have been implemented a long ass time ago. does it even work? out of curiosity i may load it up on my 9930 but due to any and all beta versions of BBM ive tried in the past not working for shit and being nothing but a headache, id like to know if its at least working at a basic level, aka actually showing the text i type.

its a good improvement.
the only complaint i have is that when you put one of the new emoticons, someone who doesn't have the version of bbm (6.1) will not be able to see it

this is great for someone whos keeping up with rim their making steady progress their steam rolling ahead lets just hope they can keep it up without too many disappoimnets

I like the new features......but alot of them useless unless the other person has 6.1 installed, ie: new emoticons wont show properly and animated avatar wont show up friends bbm

Unfortunately this is limited for registered beta users only. Wondering if this could be used for others non beta users like me :(

Downloaded it but got new keycode. Requested it from my phone on Beta page twice and still got nothing. Trying from website on computer now. I did see BB had a message about parts of the site being down for maintenance when I tried to download the new Desktop Manager software, maybe this is related?

Don't seem to show up on users that don't have BBM 6.1 yet, I've sent few to my gf n I get "wtf r u trying to send me?!" Lol

still cant download on attempt 14 and keep getting COD error if i had MOOBS it would be getting right on them

I swore I would never do drugs or become addicted to anything.... Thanks RIM for making me a liar, I can't put this bitch down lol

Worked on my first try. really like the additions. im getting all my bbm contacts to sign up for beta zone and download it

i like the new update....only thing is when i bridge my playbook with my 9930...its telling me my version of bbm is not compatible.....sigh...hopefully that will be fixed soon :(

Downloaded and spent the last 2hrs checking out the new features ..took a while to notice them all lol. The new BBM is awesome!! I have it on my Bold 9900 works perfect of now! As its only a Beta version I've noticed that contacts that are not enrolled on the Beta testing program might not be able to see all the greats things you can, like the fact you have a longer text field for your status or one of my personal favourites- Animated Avators :( but when its out of beta and available to all it will be a hit! The new emotions are good s'pose, a few of them anyway but they should be a few more (y). The Bubble box for changing the colour of you contact chat field I personaly don't rate, needs more, vivid colours if anything. The new cropping tool for setting your BBM display pic shouldn't have been changed. Overall I rate it 9/10. ..CrackBerry Addict :D

Would I love it if BBM was released to all phone type users! i.e. (Android, Ios, Windows Mobile)
The ONLY person I know that has a non-business BB that can accept BBM is my father!

its a good app but if the other person don't have the same bbm version they won't see the new smiley or see the animated picture so they need to fix that bug

Hi there -
it is not giving me the option to change the chat bubble colour if anyone can help me in ANY way please pin message me .... pin:272CB6F7