After a month-long beta period, RIM has announced general availability of its latest version of BlackBerry Messenger. Free Wi-Fi calling between BBM users heads up the new list of features for BBM 7.0 — RIM calls it BBM Voice — allowing BlackBerry owners to quickly switch from text-based chats to voice conversations. RIM's implementation of Wi-Fi calls seemed well-executed when we had a glimpse at the update last month, and should be a welcome addition for BlackBerry users that have stuck with the company through its troubles.

As for other new inclusions, BlackBerry Messenger 7 will now synchronize your BBM profile, groups, and contacts utilizing your BlackBerry ID. Additionally, the latest version adds in-app notifications to alert users when new software upgrades are available. And yes, RIM has managed to pack even more emoticons into its messaging platform. BBM 7 is available now via BlackBerry App World for all hardware running BlackBerry OS 6 and above. RIM says support will be extended to devices with OS 5 sometime in 2013.