While we await the arrival of BBX, RIM’s continuing with business as usual for its existing BlackBerry platform. Today, that means the release of a new version of BlackBerry Messenger to the Beta Zone, as well as a rumored update for the App World itself.
BlackBerry Messenger 6.1 beta has quite the nice selection of new features. Personal messages can now be twice as long as before, up to 160 characters. You’ll be able to more easily keep track of whom you’re chatting with by assigning custom colors to your contacts. Camera integration is tightened-up, letting you quickly snap a new BBM display picture. There’s also now the option to use an animated avatar, selectable from a few preset choices, and an expanded library of emoticons.
Right now, App World 3.1 is just a rumor, but there are expectations that its beta will soon be ready for release. One possible change due in 3.1 is formal support for using the App World purely over a WiFi connection, with no cellular data coverage. The other major addition is supposedly a gifting system, where you can both purchase and send apps to other BlackBerry users, as well as establish a wish list of ones you’d appreciate receiving.
If you’re signed-up for the Beta Zone, you can check out BBM 6.1 now; there’s no word on when App World 3.1 might join it.