In this smart phone driven world, SMS has been a thing of the past. With several instant messenger apps available in the mobile market, mobile users are being provided with a lot of new options. From amongst those several instant messenger apps, “BBM” has indeed been the talk of the town lately. More because of its recent launch in the Android & iOS platforms.

Yes! The much awaited BBM app for Android and iOS devices is finally here.

Blackberry messenger app has now been officially launched as on October 21st 2013. After its disastrous failed first launch back in September 2013 due to an online leak of the unreleased version of BBM for Android, it is finally here for Android and iOS users alike.

As I woke up this morning, I was pretty glad to see my first ever BBM pin. As an enthusiast for trying out new Android apps and considering the most hyped messenger of all time, I thought of writing this article to share my experience with BBM for Android.

So for those already aware and for those not so aware let me begin by addressing a few quick questions that I am sure must have occurred to someone or the other wanting to know more about BBM or those who would like a quick recap of the once reigning app in the world of instant messaging.

The Quick 5 questions

1. What is BBM?

So what exactly is BBM? BBM stands for Blackberry Messenger. It is basically an instant messenger developed by Blackberry Limited (formerly known as Research in Motion Limited- RIM). Until just a few days back BBM was restricted to only blackberry devices. But now recently it has been launched for devices supporting Android and iOS as well thus welcoming a whole new group of users to the already existing Blackberry user base.

2. Who can use BBM?

As I have already mentioned previously BBM can be used by any device supporting Blackberry/ iOS v6, v7 or later / Android 4.0 and up.

3. Where to get BBM for Android?

BBM is now officially available for download on Android devices from the Google play store . It is also available for iOS and can be downloaded from the App store .

4.  How to use BBM?

Obviously, to get started with BBM one has to download and install the same from the Google play store. In order to use BBM one needs to get a BBID (Blackberry ID).

After a disastrous first launch attempt, Blackberry has been more cautious this time as it has started with a virtual line up system for users to get their BBIDs. What this means is that, once installed you can enter your email id to register and hold a spot in the line of users trying to get their respective BBIDs. Once you reach the front of the virtual line you will be allotted a unique BBID.

Fortunately, for those who already have had a BBID in the past or had pre-registered on the Blackberry’s official website can directly start using BBM.

5. When can you get started?

As soon as you get your pin (via email) or if you already have a BBID then you should be good to go and can start using BBM immediately.

My experience with BBM for Android

After a long wait, I finally received my pin this morning and was pretty psyched about using BBM.

So what new does BBM bring to the plate that any other leading messenger apps such as Whatsapp does not?

  • One difference that I noticed was that of D’s and R’s next to a sent message. When you send a message to your contact, you will see a grey checkbox when the message is delivered to the server, a ‘D’ sign next to the message if it is delivered to the device and an ‘R’ sign if the message is read by the recipient. In Whatsapp a single tick means the message is sent to the server and a double tick means it is delivered to the device (irrespective of whether the intended recipient has read it or not!)
  • BBM offers options for group chat, broadcasting messages (send a message to many recipients at once) just like Whatsapp but what it also provides is an option for having a Multiperson chat (this means you need not create an exclusive group every time you need to talk to a certain group of people.)
  • Security & Privacy wise BBM really wins over Whatsapp as it is not Phone number based, rather it is Pin based. So not any person having your contact number can contact you on BBM like in case of Whatsapp. Also since BBM is pin based, if you ever surrender your contact number to someone else he/she won’t have access to your BBM contacts unless if they know your BBM password. This is not the case for Whatsapp, wherein identification is based solely on contact number so if you lose your phone or surrender your number to someone else he/she can easily access your Whatsapp contacts. Basically BBM lets you share and connect only with those whom you really want to connect to, thereby safeguarding your privacy.

Everything comes with its own limitations and so does BBM

  • As BBM is pin based rather than phone number based, storing username, password etc. can be a bit of an overhead for some users.
  • BBM is limited only to Blackberry, iOS and Android devices. It is not supported by devices having Windows or Symbian OS. So for those having contacts from other devices might prefer Whatsapp over BBM as it is cross compatible in the true sense.
  • Whatsapp lets you send not only images, audio and videos but also locations and contacts right from the chat window which is not the case in Blackberry.
  • The “last seen” feature of Whatsapp may be considered as a disadvantage by some but it can be truly useful to most of us as it lets us communicate to someone when he/she is actually online on an immediate basis.
The Conclusion

One could go on with the debate between BBM and Whatsapp and as to which is better. But the winner can be selected solely based on user preference and perspective.

As far as my personal opinion is concerned I would still prefer Whatsapp for its simplicity, familiarity and efficiency, I would perhaps use BBM to connect to people who are exclusive BBM users.

Future scope

If BBM for Android comes in par with its current available version on Blackberry 10 with features such as voice calls, video calls, screen sharing etc. then Blackberry surely has huge future prospects.

Final question

Will the 10million+ BBM app downloaders reciprocate into an equivalent number of actual BBM users? Will it once again lead the instant messaging world as it once did? Only time will tell….

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