BlackBerry Messenger for Your PlayBook

BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) is Research in Motion’s very own version of an instant messaging service. BBM allows any two BlackBerry users who have a data plan on their phone to communicate with each other anywhere in the world; under most circumstances there are no per-message charges.

With the BlackBerry PlayBook, BBM is available as a component of the BlackBerry Bridge; when you wirelessly connect your tablet to a BlackBerry smartphone, you can send and receive instant messages from the PlayBook. You’ll benefit from the larger onscreen virtual keyboard and the larger display.

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If your BlackBerry smartphone or BlackBerry PlayBook somehow arrives without BBM or BlackBerry Bridge BBM installed, simply visit the BlackBerry App World and download it to the device; the program is free for all registered owners of either device.

BBM essentials are as follows:

  • To start a conversation, tap a contact. Then type a message. Tap Return to send the message.

  • To access advanced features, tap one of these in the lower-right corner: Ping, Multi-person Chat, and Attach Files.

  • To add a contact, tap the + sign in the lower-left corner. Enter the contact’s PIN or e-mail address, and then tap Send Invite.

  • To select Multi-person Chat, tap the icon and select multiple contacts for your party-line chat.

  • To add an emoticon to your message, tap the smiley face.

If you connect your PlayBook to your BlackBerry smartphone using BlackBerry Bridge, your BBM contacts and all of your messages show up on the tablet. (In the Bridge world they still live on the phone, not the tablet; the PlayBook reaches into the phone for the data.) Any changes, deletions, or additions you make on your tablet will show up and be stored on your phone.

The promised native version of BBM will work with contacts stored on the BlackBerry PlayBook itself or accessible from a remote site using WiFi (or, on some models, a cellular data link).

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