BlackBerry Messenger 5.0 was officially released last night prompting practically everybody who found out to upgrade. It was first only found in the App World but shortly thereafter we found the direct download link at www.blackberry.com/blackberrymessenger. While many people may be happy with their current version of BlackBerry Messenger I thought I would highlight a few reasons why you should upgrade. The upgrade is a whopping 2.8 megabytes but it is well worth it. Sadly some of the coolest features are for OS 5.0+ only but hopefully we will all get that upgrade soon! The software also requires OS 4.5+ according to RIM so you need to upgrade if you are running anything older.
NOTE: PLEASE backup your phone using Desktop Manager before you upgrade! We have been hearing a few reports about people’s devices not upgrading correctly and would hate for you to lose your information.
- I am not sure if this is a replacement for the BlackBerry Groups app that has yet to be replaced but it is awesome! Groups is really a collaborative chat room for you and your BlackBerry buddies. You can view group members, share pictures with included voice notes, share task lists, and even have a group calendar. It works quite well but I have been hearing some reports that it might be a battery drain… Let us know!
Enhanced threaded SMS
- This cool new feature requires OS 5.0 but lets you have threaded chat like SMS conversations. There are quite a few restrictions on this that I am not too happy about but it is still really cool. As RIM details in this article: “SMS messages will only appear in BlackBerry Messenger if the user added to BlackBerry Messenger and the SMS conversation is started in BlackBerry Messenger”
Contact Backup and Restore
- This feature was a long time coming from RIM and did not work well on the leaked beta in my experience. It looks like RIM has truly revamped it allowing you to do both remote and local backups of your contact lists. The remote backup associates your contact list with your email address and stores it on RIM’s servers. The local backup stores it to local memory such as the SD card. No longer will we have to lose our contact lists!
Avatars & enhanced contact display
- With BBM 5.0 RIM has placed a focus on your identity. You will now be able to set an avatar and allow BBM to show your contacts Avatars and associate them with your phone book. This is a really cool way to get picture ID in your phone book. The Avatars are actually pretty high quality and you can zoom in on them.
Large Media File Transfer
- This is the other OS 5.0+ required feature that lets you send up to 6 megabytes of pictures, files, and audio at a time. Maybe we can turn BBM into a BlackBerry file sharing app… You can always send you favorite song for a friend to check out.
There are quite a few more hidden options like adding users via Barcode or even joining a group via barcode. You can add me to your BBM using the barcode below to get an idea of how it works:
So what is your favorite feature?