It’s just a matter of days or weeks now; BBM will finally go cross-platform officially. At least it’s still officially “this summer”.
Personally, I’ve grown tired of waiting. It really has been long overdue and there’s only so much you can do to keep a Blackberry nonfan interested for 4 long months.
Among my family and friends, I seem to be the only person who has never owned a Blackberry device, by choice. So pardon me for not relating to all the love BBM continues to get. The few times I tried BBM, pre-Blackberry 10 I mean, it just seemed too clustered and muddled up for my liking. But I understand I’m just a minority. I see a lot of folks who have made the cross-over from Blackberry to competing platforms, but still keep a hardy Blackberry Curve by the side just so they can use BBM.
I don’t think I’m misguided in deducing that for most of such people, BBM coming to Android and iOS means they can finally do away with that Blackberry Curve and also delete Whatsapp from their phones. I cringe at the thought of anyone deleting Whatsapp from their devices.
Here are 5 reasons why I will still use Whatsapp after BBM goes cross-platform:
Whatsapp is not free
I can sense a few eyebrows raised. Yes, I prefer Whatsapp because it’s not free. Whatsapp CEO, Jan Koum, has made it clear – he hates ads. He believes ads get in the way of the user experience, and I’m with him totally. I’d rather pay a yearly access charge and be sure all the money is going to the developer, than get the app for free and have my privacy intruded upon by annoying ads, of which only a percentage of the revenue goes to the developer. And seriously what is $0.99 (less than N200) a year compared to your privacy, peace of mind and lag-free user experience?
You’re probably wondering where I’m going with this – BBM will be free also right? Well, we can’t be sure it will stay free for long. Let’s not forget that it is the sale of Blackberry devices that keeps BBM afloat. The major reason why Blackberry are offering to go cross-platform with BBM is that they hope the move will stir up a renewed interest in their devices. Should this gamble not pay off in the future, Blackberry may be forced to either monetize BBM or scrap it completely from competing platforms. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather stick with what’s working for me now; Whatsapp
Whatsapp has a wider reach
If you account for distinct implementations, Whatsapp is available on 7 platforms – Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Blackberry 10, Blackberry 4.6 and above, Symbian Belle and Nokia S40. So it is not surprising that they have a wider usage than any other existing messaging client right now. Last time I checked, Whatsapp has over 200 million active users monthly, sending and receiving over 20 billion messages a day. Only BBM comes close with 10 billion messages a day. Even when BBM eventually crosses over to iOS and Android, I honestly don’t see them matching up to these usage level. How about the
Nokia Microsoft and Windows Phone users? I for one can attest that quite a number of my Whatsapp contacts are on these platforms. Will they ever get a fair share of BBM love? Sorry, I’ll stick with Whatsapp.
Whatsapp has a better user experience
Prior to BBM 10 release, the BBM user experience was a nightmare in my opinion. BBM 10 has seen some remarkable improvements to the user experience but, considering that a high percentage Blackberry users still don’t own a Blackberry 10 device, I don’t think I would be wrong to pit the older BBM against Whatsapp here
When I launch BBM, I’m greeted with an interface that tries to cram everything into one screen – groups (which I care less for), status updates, chats, invites and all my contacts muddled up on one screen. Why?
On Whatsapp, the default landing tab lists only my recent chats. Should I want to view more – favourites, status updates, profile pictures et all – I switch over to another tab. For me this is perfect as the secondary details don’t get in the way of my primary purpose of using the app, which is to chat with my friends.
As one great artist once put it: “Simplicity is the utmost sophistication”. Whatsapp’s interface might be very simple, but it sure as hell is very sophisticated.
Whatsapp is cheaper in the long run
As at the time of writing this, here’s how you get BBM in the 3 steps:
- Buy a Blackberry device for no less than N30,000;
- Get BBM free;
- Pay no less than N1,200 a month to use BBM. It doesn’t matter if you’ll only use it a few days in that month.
Here’s how you get Whatsapp in 3 steps:
- Buy any device of your choice, even for as low as N11,500.
- Get Whatsapp free, pay less than N200/yr after that. If you’re lucky, you won’t get charged in the 2nd year.
- If you can’t afford a data bundle or will not chat very often, use your regular airtime and chat to your heart’s content.
Which would you rather use? The one where you can reach a wider range of people, on a budget? Or the one where your reach is limited and you end up spending more?
Whatsapp can do everything BBM does
It’s not like Whatsapp is one incapable and under-featured IM client that will be easily obliterated by BBM’s pseudo-multi-platform presence.
As far as I know, there are only 2 features BBM has that Whatsapp doesn’t – real-time voice calls and live screen sharing. Whatsapp has voice messaging but it’s not in real-time. However, to use BBM’s real-time voice calls, you must have access to Wi-Fi. How many average Nigerians have access to Wi-Fi in their homes?
Interestingly enough, these voice calling and screen sharing features will not be available on BBM for Android and iOS. Neither are they available for any Blackberry device that runs less than BB10 OS version. There’s no telling when these features will come to Android or iOS and frankly, I don’t need them to come. Google Hangouts and FaceTime already have us covered with similar features. A lot of people are probably not even aware that Google Hangouts had screen sharing before BBM 10 did.
So after considering all these, I ask myself, “what edge will BBM have over Whatsapp when it finally launches on these platforms?” What is BBM bringing to the table that will convince me to switch? Can anyone maybe help me with that?
Featured image via techites.com