BlackBerry Messenger 6 offers more 'social experience'

It appears Research In Motion has decided to flip the switch and turn its popular BlackBerry Messenger application, or BBM, as its users refer to it, into a more full-fledged "social experience."

It appears Research In Motion has decided to flip the switch and turn its popular BlackBerry Messenger application, or BBM, as its users refer to it, into a more full-fledged "social experience," complete with app integration, social app discovery, even some enhanced social gaming.

Buzzwords aside, BBM 6 does, in fact, change the game for both BlackBerry app developers and end users. It allows developers to create apps using the BBM API, which in turn will allow users to interact with each other from right within the BBM-connected apps. This means that newly developed games, for instance, could allow players to invite BBM contacts to join them, or perhaps chat with them, without them ever leaving the game.

BBM 6 also aids in app discovery by letting users view and even download those listed on a friend's profile. "This represents an opportunity for developers to leverage the viral nature of the BBM service," says Alistair Mitchell, VP BBM Platform & Integrated Services at Research in Motion. Further, Mitchell says that RIM has "already begun working with various developer partners who will be bringing their BBM connected apps to BlackBerry App World this week." Foursquare, the location-aware check-in service, is working with RIM to enable users to automatically update BBM statuses via their app. Meanwhile, companies like TelMap, Wikitude, and HuffPo are also getting involved.

In all, it looks like BBM 6 does bring excitement to a platform that could use some. But we'll have to wait and see if it's enough to keep users from flocking to iPhone and Android, platforms that have already proven to offer robust social experiences.

BBM 6 will be available later today on the BlackBerry site. Meanwhile, a selection of BBM connected apps will be trickling into BlackBerry App World throughout the week.

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