BBM, BlackBerry Travel, and BlackBerry Traffic power up

BlackBerry OS 7.1 wasn't the only thing RIM announced today. Three of the most popular apps on the BlackBerry platform also got some major work done.

LAS VEGAS--BlackBerry OS 7.1 wasn't the only thing RIM announced today. Three of the most popular apps on the BlackBerry platform also got some major work done.

First, BBM 6.1 is here, and it adds some sexy NFC flavor to its feature set. Now, friends can invite each other to connect on BlackBerry Messenger by simply tapping their NFC-enabled phones together, which, let's face it, is a hell of a lot easier than inputting those crazy BBM PINs. Also, BBM 6.1 gets the powerful message and profile customization options--animated avatars, emoticons, and colored chat bubbles--that were previously seen in the app's beta release.

RIM

Next, BlackBerry Travel also got a big boost. According to the folks at RIM, the newly updated app "virtually plans your trips for you from airport pickup and drop-off to accommodations and scheduling." You can use it to find deals on hotels and car rentals, and it can notify you of any delays or changes in your flight schedule. Also, there's an automatic trip-scanning feature that can pull your trip details directly into the app, no matter where you booked your trip. Since many of BlackBerry's remaining followers are likely the business-travel type, these updates are sure to raise a lot of eyebrows.

Finally, BlackBerry Traffic now has turn-by-turn voice navigation. It gives you your route, along with your estimated time of arrival (ETA) based on current traffic conditions, which should be incredibly helpful to those running around major metropolitan cities for meetings all day.

RIM

The new BlackBerry Messenger 6.1, BlackBerry Travel, and BlackBerry Traffic apps are available for download now on BlackBerry App World.

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