Is the Blackberry Messaging App (BBM) Dying? Let’s Explore Better Alternatives
OK well maybe the Blackberry Messaging service (BBM) is not dying here in Jamaica but deep in my heart I would love to see more consumers expand their smartphone horizons and escape from the stats quo “BB.” Nevertheless Blackberry has done an excellent job of capturing the attention of users in the region and has remained the dominant smartphone in the local market. For now.
However, the reality now exists where the barriers to access to cost-effective high speed data are breaking down and a plethora of mobile devices with outstanding processing capabilities are hitting the scene. So considering all that’s available with smartphone selection and functionality, why do people still choose the BB? The majority of local consumers seem to be have the tolerance of Job with BB’s buggy performance that oftentimes require multiple reboots per day, mechanically faulty shell especially with the Torch’s ribbon issues and an app market whose apps sometimes remind me of long lost 16-bit game characters.
The Answer is the “BB Status”
The perceived BB status apparently proclaims that BB users are with the hip crowd and anybody without one is a lowly commoner. I somehow feel like grandpa when I just said that by the way. Put this together with the ability to use your BB Pin to add users to your messaging service and you’re set. Another wacky point to mention is that Blackberry users seem to be deeply in love with Digicel, a local telecoms provider, whose maximum mobile phone data speed is EDGE (bit rate maxes out at around 60Kbps) and at the same time sell phones designed for 3G networks. EDGE means that you can’t watch Youtube videos or most other streamed content, pages take forever to load and this is on an “internet access package.”
I just don’t get it.
So when speaking with the BB fraternity about switching to other reasonable platforms such as Android and iOS i’m scoffed at even when the benefits are clear while the more personable folks will gracefully state that they can’t afford to lose all their BBM contacts.
Example: Benefits of Android vs Blackberry
There is light at the end of the tunnel and we can still achieve enlightenment and exercise our right to choose. I’m currently using a Samsung Galaxy S with LIME and my experience with the Android platform is amazing. I can download all the modern apps I want, I’ve never had to reboot my phone because of screen freezes and its built for 3G data speeds.
I can still instant message any smartphone user since I have the WhatsApp application installed. WhatsApp is built for all the prominent mobile platforms even Blackberry and works simply by adding a user’s phone number to your contacts. So the unique user identifier is their phone number versus a string of arbitrary alphanumeric characters such as the BB Pin. You can send messages to anyone using the app regardless of their platform versus BBM which is restricted to Blackberry users.
Data Price Comparison
LIME’s Casual User Package gives you 2.5GB of data at $2,500 per 30 days at 3G speed.
Digicel’s Blackberry Internet Service at EDGE speed is $1,599 per 30 days.
Sure Digicel costs less but all you’re getting is BBM, email and a slow internet connection. I understand that some users will have different usage patterns and requirements but as long as you will be using a data package, for real interactivity it would be better to go with a network that will deliver the overall speed.
If you choose to use your Blackberry on LIME well hats off to you, you’ve just made the first step towards a better mobile experience because at least you will have greater accessibility to the internet. But Blackberry phones are still buggy.
New App – Something for Android users
There is a new Android app, MightText, which allows you to send SMS, MMS and make calls from a web app and messages, pictures etc. get synced with your android phone. The app allows remote messaging from any tablet, pc or smartphone while any phone would still be able to communicate with you as they normally would.
Maneesh Arora, one of MightText’s developers, says simply, “To me, it makes no sense that I have to have my phone in front of me to communicate … If I leave it in another room, or in the car, or at home, I essentially have to retrieve it to see who’s calling or to receive incoming texts.” So Manessh and his team created this neat app to allow Android users to view and reply to text messages regardless of what device being used.
So with all this innovation, why is Blackberry still the most popular phone in a fairly liberated mobile marketplace?
I’m anti-Blackberry, yes, but I choose the product logically leaning towards what makes sense for my pocket and user experience. So, do have a Balckberry? Why do you still have one? See any other phones you like? Let us know in the comments below.