Essential Gadgets Image Gallery
Essential Gadgets Image Gallery

Political candidates like Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee rely on BlackBerry Messenger to remain in touch with family and staff members. See more essential gadget pictures.

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Imagine taking part in a Web conference designed to pitch your product to foreign investors. You're in New York, and your potential investors are in London. Your partner and main presenter is in San Francisco. While you're listening in, you realize a key point that he should make.

You pull out your BlackBerry, go to BlackBerry Messenger and send your partner an instant message: "Todd, you can tie that really well to return on investment." The immediate response is: "Got it. Will do." Message sent and received without the investors being aware, point made, and the conference moves on to your company's advantage.

Or imagine running into heavy traffic on the way to an out-of-town family gathering. You know you'll be late, but you don't know who to call. You use BlackBerry Messenger to contact several relatives at once with an apology and estimated arrival time. "That's OK," your sister messages back. "We're stuck in the same mess. Just keep us posted." Your dad responds with: "We'll just wait for you here at the restaurant."

BlackBerry Messenger gives BlackBerry users a quick, easy way to send instant messages to each other using their PIN codes. It's free and, unlike with e-mail, users can carry on several conversations at the same time. They also can chat with a group, see contacts' availability, send files and track message status.

What are the features of BlackBerry Messenger? How does instant messaging with your BlackBerry work? And, what are the advantages and disadvantages of BlackBerry Messenger? Go to the next page to find out.