It’s time to switch to BBM
It simply blows away Whatsapp
Call me old-fashioned but I prefer Blackberry Messenger over any other cross-platform mobile messaging app, like Whatsapp. I know for many people, Whatsapp has become the default mode of communication over the last couple of years but now that Blackberry Messenger has finally arrived on Android and iOS, I think it’s time to switch to something that is more forward thinking and offers a secure and solid messaging foundation.
Here’s why BBM is simply better than Whatsapp:
Setup and contact management
Whatsapp creates an account for you based on your phone number, which is nice since people who are friends with you can easily add you on Whatsapp and you don't have to deal with usernames and passwords.
BBM works using PINs, like 12A3B4CD, which is more elegant and secure. To add someone, you simply have to ask them for their PIN (not his/her phone number) and send an invite. You are also made to sign up for a Blackberry ID, to which all your contacts are linked against and synced. Unfortunately, like Whatsapp, you will have to manually add people since BBM doesn’t add everyone automatically in your contact list (if your already have a BBID and your contacts are synced to it then you won't have to do this).
But, the Whatsapp approach comes with several problems:
- You will have to give your phone number to someone new who you want to add (which can be an issue for ladies).
- Since Whatsapp will automatically add everyone who is in your contact list (given they also use Whatsapp), this could be a big problem if you have lots of contacts and you don’t usually chat with all of them, only certain people.
- If your friend switches to a new number, the new user of his/her old number can easily stalk or harass you if your friend doesn't inform you he/she has changed her number.
Contact management is a bit different on both apps. On Whatsapp, you need to add the person’s number to your contact list in order to chat with them (regardless of how often you talk to him/her) whereas on BBM, you simply need to know their PIN, which helps in keeping your contacts list clutter-free, although you can always link your BBM contacts against your contacts list.
The D’s and the R’s
This is one of the biggest reason why I like BBM more than Whatsapp. When you send a message, a blue colored D (Delivered) icon is displayed and the second the message is read, a green colored R (Received) icon is displayed
I know many of you must be thinking Whatsapp also does the same, but you’re wrong. One tick means the message has been successfully delivered to the Whatsapp server and two ticks means the message has been successfully delivered to the phone. Don't believe me? You can check the Whatsapp FAQ here. BBM not only tells you when the message has been delivered but also when the message has been read.
Normal/Group chats and file sharing
Text chats on both apps are pretty much the same with two slight differences — you get both delivery and read receipts on BBM and you can “ping” a person to get his/her attention whereas you only get delivery receipt on Whatsapp and and there’s no ping feature. Both apps offer the ability to save normal and group chats, clear all chats and more. BBM’s group chat feature is more powerful than Whatsapp’s. You can create and share events, to-do lists, etc and host several independent chats at once. There’s also BBM Channels, but that isn't supported on Android and iOS at the moment so can't talk about it.
Whatsapp only allows you to share videos and photos but BBM allows you to share any kind of file. That’s just amazing!
Note: You can share contacts and locations on both apps.
Security and Infrastructure
Blackberry’s security is top-notch when compared to Whatsapp.
- As mentioned earlier, BBM works using PIN instead of phone numbers, which gives it a huge edge in terms of security. For example: if you create a group on Whatsapp and start adding people, you can see anyone’s number on it and if you're a lady, then this could be a serious problem since anyone can write down the number and then harass you later.
- Anyone who would like to be your contact on BBM needs to send you an invite, which you have to authorize in order for that person to become your contact, unlike Whatsapp where anyone with your number can easily add and start sending messages to you.
- Communication over BBM is encrypted to such a high extent that even governments across the globe cannot decrypt it (One exception is the the Indian government: They can access your conversations, something that doesn't happen on Whatsapp, although it doesn’t prevent the Indian government from blocking Whatsapp if they do not allow them to read the conversations in future).
Blackberry’s infrastructure is also top-notch. BBM is used globally by people in enterprises and government agencies of all kinds, which also includes the United States Department of Defense. BBM is also approved to be used in case of emergency situations by several reputed companies.
Profile management on Whatsapp and BBM is almost the same except on BBM, you can change your status to busy (not status message), share what music you're listening to, allow apps to automatically update your status and see what BBM-compatible apps your friends use.
Privacy and Price
BBM does not reveal any unwarranted information about the user unless you want to reveal it. Also, BBM does not show the date and time you were last seen at to everyone, like Whatsapp. It’s a potentially big privacy issue. What if you told (or lied to) someone you're busy but Whatsapp displays the date/time you last used Whatsapp at? That sucks.
BBM is completely free but Whatsapp is paid (although for some people the trial gets extended a few times, but that’s simply for promotion) and I see no reason to pay for Whatsapp when BBM offers superior functionality, a trustable infrastructure and better security/privacy.
Whatsapp time to increase its user base and make its service better is over and I think its safe to say that Blackberry Messenger is simply more superior than Whatsapp right now. BBM offers more features, is built on top of a reliable infrastructure, respects your privacy and keeps you secure, which makes it harder for other companies that offer a similar app to beat BBM. Sure, it’s missing BBM Channels, Voice/Video calling and Screen Sharing, but those features will make their way onto Android and iOS very soon, according to Blackberry. The only problem Blackberry has to tackle now is making users switch from Whatsapp (and other cross-platform messaging apps) to BBM and I wish Blackberry best of luck.