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BlackBerry Messenger 6.1 beta brings animated avatars, chat bubble colors, and other tweaks

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BBM version 6.1 brings new emoticons and a selection of animated avatars, among other features.

BlackBerry Messenger 6.1
BlackBerry Messenger 6.1

Don't look for a major overhaul here, but one of the crown jewels in BlackBerry's platform — BlackBerry Messenger — is getting bumped to version 6.1 today with a public beta available in the company's Beta Zone. New features include a selection of animated avatars, 12 new emoticons (ranging from a steering wheel to a fight-ravaged face), ten choices of chat bubble colors, an increase in the total Personal Message size from 80 to 160 characters, and camera / avatar integration, meaning you can take a shot and instantly set it as your avatar. Granted, this is a pre-release build — but considering how tame the changes are, it'd seem unlikely that users are going to unearth many showstopper bugs if they upgrade early. The beta is available for download right now.