Smartphone users everywhere were abuzz with excitement when rumors that the BBM app would be made available for Android and iOS users. Many signed up for the service even before the app was scheduled to roll out. An older, unofficial version of BlackBerry Messenger for Android was leaked and shared through different file sharing sites weeks before the official version was to be released. In a matter of hours it was installed on about 1 million Android devices. The problems this unreleased app caused to BlackBerry’s system contributed to the delay in the release of the app not just for Android, but for iOS devices as well.
BlackBerry Messenger for Android and iOS eventually rolled out in October and has since received mixed reviews from users. Like most apps, BBM for iOS and Android is far from perfect. Here are some of the pros and cons users of the Android and iOS versions have reported.
- Stability – The long wait for the app to be (officially) launched was worth it because users got a stable version that works well with minimal performance issues.
- Speed – This is an area that many instant messaging apps have a problem with. Luckily, with BBM for iOS or Android, messages are sent and received in a flash.
- Group Chat feature – One of the features users like about the app is the multi-person chat feature where they can send and receive messages to and from selected contacts.
- Broadcast Message – The Broadcast Message function also adds value to the app because users can send a message to their entire contact list without having to send the same message multiple times.
- Security – You allow people to message you via a secret pin, so there is less chance of strangers being able to message you. other methods such as phone numbers and emails are more vulnerable to that.
- Missing Features – Those who were expecting to get everything that came with the BBM app on BlackBerry devices would be disappointed to know that not all features are available for the iOS and Android versions at their first launch.
- Scattered, messy user interface – This is not to say that the app is difficult to navigate. In fact, its user interface is actually quite smooth; however, considering the time it took for the app to be released, BlackBerry could have polished the aesthetics and navigation a bit more.
- Stiff competition – It seems as if the BlackBerry Messenger app stayed exclusive for way too long. iOS and Android users have already found instant messaging apps that they are comfortable with. This makes finding contacts (who weren’t on BBM prior to the release of the iOS and Android versions of the app) difficult. WhatsApp for example has announced this week that they are up to 430 million users, more than doubling over the previous 10 months. That’s massive growth!
Back to BBM though, there are some concerns with certain features that are lacking or issues with the interface, but these concerns can easily be dealt with in future updates. The latest release on 13 January 2014 already shows a marked improvement with the app now having a 4 start rating on the Play Store. The long wait for BlackBerry Messenger for Android and iOS to come to fruition wasn’t necessarily a waste of time. It’s a solid app with a solid following. It’s not hard to imagine the app to catch up with the competition pretty soon.