Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Review of Blackberry Messenger (BBM) for Android and iOS

I've been using Blackberry Messenger (BBM) for Android for approximately 2 weeks along with using it on my Blackberry Q10 and I've decided to write my thoughts about the version that is currently available for Android (v1.0.0.72) as well as for iOS (v1.0.3.120)

You can download BBM for Android on the Google Play Store *HERE* and you can download BBM for your iPhone/iPad from iTunes *HERE*.

I've tried BBM for Android on my LG Nexus-4 as well as my Samsung Nexus-S. When I first downloaded the program when it was first released, because Blackberry wanted to control the number of users and make sure that nothing went wrong with too many users, there was a sign-up period which for me lasted a few days. However, as of the date of this blog entry, there is no waiting period in order to register/activate the program and get a Blackberry PIN.

The thing with BBM is that it uses a unique code/ID called a Blackberry PIN in order to add people into your Blackberry Messenger (BBM) contact list. You generally must know the person's Blackberry PIN in order to add/invite the person into your BBM contact list. The benefit of this method is that it requires approval from the person you are trying to add before you can chat with the person. Someone can't simply add you into their BBM contact list by knowing your phone number or your e-mail address. The drawback to this method (when compared with WhatsApp) is that there isn't a simple way of finding your friends who are using BBM when you are using the Android version of BBM.

With WhatsApp, the program will match the phone numbers in your phone's contact/addressbook and it will display all the people in your phone's addressbook who installed WhatsApp. The negative part of WhatsApp is that it goes through your phone's contact list for people who've installed WhatsApp and you might have someone in your phone's address book but you don't necessarily want to have them show up in your chatting program nor do you want your name to appear in their chatting program just because they have your phone number in their phone's addressbook.

On my Blackberry Q10, finding people who are using BBM is a bit easier but still requires the approval process. When I go into the BBM Menu on my Blackberry Q10, and then click on "Invites", there is a tab where I can see "Suggested" invites. I'm not sure how Blackberry does this but I believe that on Blackberries, it compares the people currently in your Blackberry Contact list and it will use this based on the e-mail address that someone used to activate BBM on their device. If BBM on Blackberry 10 detects a match, it will list the contact in the "Suggested" tab. Even if you add someone using BBM for Blackberry 10, the person must approve you before you are able to chat with him/her. On the current Android version of BBM, the "Suggested" tab is not there nor is the "Suggested" tab on the current iOS version of BBM.

During my tests with BBM on Android as well as on iOS (I tested it more on Android than on iOS), I found that sometimes the message would be delivered to my non-Blackberry phone while other times it wouldn't be delivered (the sender would see the check mark corresponding with the message having been sent but not delivered to the recipient's phone yet). I sent the message from my Blackberry Q10 to my Android phone as well as my iPhone 3GS and noticed that sometimes for some strange reason, there was no notification that a BBM message was sent to my non-Blackberry phone. When using my Blackberry Q10 to communicate/BBM with another Blackberry device, the messages were consistently received without any issues.

The Android and iOS version still requires a bit of work in order to make sure that messages are sent/received properly and instantaneously on non-Blackberry devices and I would like to see additional features such as the ability to talk or videochat between different platforms. The Blackberry version of BBM has more features than the current Android and iOS versions of BBM but hopefully Blackberry will include the features that Blackberry users are used to on the other platforms as well as improve the reliability of sending/receiving notifications of BBM messages waiting.

If you have any comments/questions regarding this blog entry, please don't hesitate to leave a comment in the comments section below. Please note that the comments are moderated and any comment containing a URL link (whether embedded or not) will automatically be flagged as spam and will not be posted.

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