RIM has released an updated version of its popular messaging program. BlackBerry Messenger 5.0, which allows BlackBerry users to chat with each other in an instant messaging format, has received a slick makeover. Users now have the option of using an avatar, can share pics, and files up to 6MB in size. The app also features a new group chat feature, but the most interesting new thing about BBM 5.0 are the new bar codes. Now instead of sharing PINs or emails to connect, BB users need only snap a pic of each other’s bar codes. BBM 5.0 can translate the image and add you to each other’s contact lists. Another great new feature is the ability to back up your BBM information locally and/or remotely.
I just downloaded BBM 5.0 for my Tour and it is a huge improvement over previous versions. The avatars and ability to use color add life and interest to the app. The group feature is a lot of fun and they are easy to start, join and invite people to, and it also lets you organize events.
Some people have reported that their BlackBerrys bricked when they installed the update, but most of them seem to have been running hybrid or leaked OSes. I have the most recent official one and had no problems, but just in case it would be a good idea to back up your data and 3rd party apps before installing it. The update can be found at BlackBerry App World and is only available as an OTA download.