Appy Monday – BlackBerry Messenger
(Thopon Chowdhury @ThoponChowdhury)
In the not so distant past, it was absolutely essential for young people to own a BlackBerry, why? Because of BBM. This fundamentally changed with the fall of Blackberry and the rise of multi platform services like Whatsapp.
BBM had a special factor. Its dead simple functionality and speedy interface made it easy for users to communicate with individuals and groups of people.
For the first time, there was an efficient way to send images rather than sending slow, low-res “picture messages” via MMS. BBM was leading the market with it’s plethora of features. Shared calendars was one of these great features along with “ping”, which essentially sends push notifications. “status” was another feature which allowed people to be aware of your current activities.
So why has this old favourite taken a turn for the worst? Well we answer all these questions in our latest Appy Monday review..
The app is refined but bland. It has a clean interface and is simple to use. But when it comes to appearance I think it is fair to say that this app lacks personality. It consists of mainly white space with a grey menu bar which just looks a bit bare. The design of the app compared to competitors; WhatsApp, is just boring and has no attractive features. With an everyday communication tool, we would have all expected at least something pleasant to look at, yet we don’t see this from BBM.
The app is very user friendly. A smooth interface and easy navigation from place to place. There are many useful shortcuts. The “copy pin” button allows you to copy your BBM pin quickly and paste it as text wherever you wish. The navigation bar is spaced well for a user’s finger and all pages are labelled separately for easy recognition of where you are. The interface is very intuitive and does what you expect it to, when you want it to. Overall simple, clean and effective. What more could you want?
BBM is great for communicating with friends. However, the design is bland and lacks personality and due to the movement of the market towards the iPhone and Android phones, and the late decision from BlackBerry to offer their service multi-platform, many users have moved to other messaging services and won’t go back. This means less (of my) friends are available on the service. There are a couple fun things such as sending different emoticon stickers etc. But it isn’t intended to be “fun” and which platform doesn’t do this? They could have made the app more interactive and integrated fun elements but they didn’t, so it’s not very fun to use at all.
Addictive / Reusable
The app is not ‘addictive’ mainly because it is a messaging service. On the other hand the app does have a reusability factor but don’t all chat apps? The reason it may be reusable is because of what you intend to do in the app rather than the app itself. However if you do have a lot of contacts that use the app then it’s definitely a viable app to come back to.
In terms of costs, the app is completely free. Most people have their primary app for communication and I do not think BBM is the one to fill that spot. WhatsApp is a dominant force that has turned into an everyday essential which BBM may not be able to keep up with. However with the fact there are no ads, no additional charges (unlike WhatsApp which does charge you $0.99 a year to use it) makes it great value.
The success or failure of messaging services like BBM are down to one thing. Whether their user base is big enough. WhatsApp no long offers as many features as some of its competitors, but since 400 million people worldwide use WhatsApp, compared to the number of users using BBM, it’s the best solution. Although BBM works well, it has no added value to potential users over its rivals.