WhatsAppened to BBM?


On a fine day, things could not have turned to a finer note when whatsapp, Google hangouts and other software of sorts, witnessed more than 10 million downloads in just a span of 24 hours – “of the BBM”. Surprising as it may be, but yes the BBM launched its app for Android and iOS, drawing itself in a fine line among the top notch chat software. Earlier, being only a feature of Blackberry phones, the app truly swept away masses upon its cross-platform expansion promising fair competition. BBM was quick to rise in the Apple App Store free apps rankings, bagging the top place in 75 countries, that is, the US, UK, Canada, Indonesia and a whole lot of Middle East.

But as known, something new is certain to catch the eyes but eventually loses its glaze unless that exceptional. So what does the BBM has to offer to keep the crowd swayed? Let’s take a quick peek to find out –

A glossy feature happens to be that the BBM is always on and connected, yes which means there is no app to open, simple and easy.

Next in row  is the most striking feature giving the users a privilege to know their messages are delivered and read – D’s and R’s.

It allows the sharing of photos, files, documents, voice notes and more.   

Grants to see when contacts are responding to your message and the custom of emoticons without which any app is incomplete.

BBM also secures privacy of its users by means of the BBM pins allowing you to exchange just emails instead of phone numbers and even choose your contacts.

Undoubtedly good, is it not? But good enough to topple the far more prevalent apps, or specifically WhatsApp, which is the most widely used app?

Honestly, convincingly 10 million downloads is whopping but not necessarily an indicator of forthcoming success, as it is too early to determine an outcome. Clearly, it is a smart move to employ BBM for Android and iOS, which does compensate for its late entry into cross-platform IM services hence giving a stiff competition to WhatsApp. But let us not turn a blind eye to deaf ears to the truth that WhatsApp, being the early bird, has been people’s favourite for quite a long time now.

And rather than Blackberry posing a threat, I’m of the perception that Blackberry faces a much impeding challenge – could it convince users to switch to BBM and forgo whatsApp. I think not. And here are the reasons to my thoughts –

To start with, the PIN based system is considered handy at screening contacts. But refraining from BBM contacts does not cut off a person. There are several other means once a person has your number and BBM is just one of them.

And assuming that, you wish not to hand over your number to specific people but still keep in touch, there is Google hangouts, with identical features as BBM pin system and all the more familiar with Android users.

During the times, when socializing is the hype, the very logic of BBM pin seems to come in as drag insisting in the opposite direction. Now, while it may not be often, but it is not rare either to find yourself in a situation where you wish to establish contact with a person but facing the possibility of a NO from the person sharing his/her pin, you might shy out. A situation where WhatsApp would certainly be a much preferred choice.

Also, it is a lot common at present, if you pay attention to your surroundings, to hear our statements like “Please whatsapp me your BBm pin” which is a clear testament of how deeps the roots of Whatsapp are spread.

The feature of R and D which the Blackberry wears like a hat with a feather has failed to work effectively as intended due to some bug, mostly as experienced by Android based phones.

Now-a-days, we have all have a popular second language and I’m speaking of a common popular second language – Emoji. Now even in terms of this language, Whatsapp has a greater vocabulary than BBM, hence again a hurdle ahead.

Just as WhatsApp, BBM lets you share files, though still falling behind Whatsapp with regards to supported formats – from photos to videos to audios to locations and even contacts. More importantly while using Whtsapp, one can share all that from a simple chat window, the luxury of which is only extended to photos and voice notes from a chat window for BBM via Android. Also BBM restricts the sharing of location and contacts.

By availing the app on Android, iOS and Blackberry OS, it would not be wrong to say that BBM has gone cross-platform but the question is which is in the true sense is cross-platform as WhatsApp is available on Symbian, S40 and Windows phone as well.

In the present scenario, most of us have two operating devices and hence would prefer using an app on multiple devices, a desire denied by both the BBM due to its one BBM Id on one device at a time and the Whatsapp owing to its verification feature by using one number on one device. And that is exactly where Google Hangouts come in handy.

WhatsApp has led to misunderstandings, conflicts between friends because of the “last seen” feature giving reassurance to BBM users. But think, delayed replies despite your updates do speak otherwise hence making the whole idea pointless either way.

Having made a cautious examining of both the IM apps, I’m would reckon WhatsApp still would be a better choice. At the same time, I’m not of the opinion that BBM has no scope, but having entered late into other platforms, it has much to catch up on before it takes the lead.

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Sanjay Negi

Currently Working at 91 Mobiles
Sanjay Kumar Negi is working at 91Mobiles.com, an online portal for mobiles phones and tablets. He writes about Technology, Mobiles and Apps.

Sanjay Negi

Sanjay Kumar Negi is working at 91Mobiles.com, an online portal for mobiles phones and tablets. He writes about Technology, Mobiles and Apps.

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