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

5 reasons why I'll still use WhatsApp after BBM goes cross-platform

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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:

  1. Buy a Blackberry device for no less than N30,000;
  2. Get BBM free;
  3. 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:

  1. Buy any device of your choice, even for as low as N11,500.
  2. Get Whatsapp free, pay less than N200/yr after that. If you’re lucky, you won’t get charged in the 2nd year.
  3. 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?

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  1. Out of all the very cogent points you enunciated, the one that resonated most is the fact that ‘the power of a network is the square of the number of units in that network’

    WhatsApp has far more users on board. That makes it many orders of magnitude more valuable than the BBMs of this world.

    Manny BB_totting BlackBerroids additionally have WhatsApp installed on the Berries.

    Why would I install BBM on Android or iOS.. just to accommodate the few ones that refuse to move with PDP ( sorry, WhatsApp)?

    No, am not excited about BBM going multi platform. WeChat, Nimbuzz , Institute, Viber, etc are all multi platform. What’s another I?

    It could actually turn out to be a self destructive move.

    Time would tell, though. ..

  2. This is ironic! I agree with the post and the earlier comment but I have just received an idiotic email from WhatsApp support… I’d be laughing if it wasn’t me involved!

    Basically, I sent them an email to say I wasn’t receiving the verification SMS and they sent me back a ‘pre-fabricated’ reply explaining what to do about a stolen phone…

  3. Two months ago, I was psyched about getting the bbm app but now I can’t be bothered anymore, it’s just another instant messaging app. Not that psyched about any one of these apps, I barely chat on these apps anyway

  4. All i have to say is this. When the fake bbm app appeared on playstore, over 100,000 people downloaded it in one day. MARK my words, bbm will eventually outgrow whatsapp IF android keeps on expanding. Do you know why i said this? Its because most people prefer to give out PINS, email ID to people to chat with than mobile numbers. If someone blocks me on whatsapp, i can flash, text or even call the person. With bbm no personal details is shared UNLESS you give it out. Dont forget android phones that support bbm can also go for 12500 i.e Tecno M. I also doubt if asha phones will still sell as much as it does now during next year.
    Summary. Whatsapp PERSONAL CHATS.

  5. This article is a huge pile of cow-dung, pardon my bluntness. WhatsApp is unreliable, too stripped down, slow, completely pared down interface. You do not care for BBM groups because you don’t use it, that’s why you don’t understand the power of BBM groups. Same applies to Recent Updates tab on BBM(which shows profile changes, new pics, media updates, app updates etc among your list contacts).

    You say BBM has almost no feature over WhatsApp, how about the ability to send any file type? Compared to WhatsApp that’s limited to multimedia files.

    You talk as if BBM is going to be loaded with ads from top to bottom or they’re going to charge it at such a huge premium, for something that’s not even out yet. I think the issue here is, you love WhatsApp, you adore it so much that you do not, and perhaps you refuse to, understand the hype surrounding the cross-platform prospects of BlackBerry Messenger. BBM is loads better than WhatsApp in all ramifications, it’s the best IM app out there, use it extensively and maybe your song will change.

  6. Mark, 100k fake BBM downloads was just out of curiosity. Downloading is not using. WhatsApp is about the only paid for major instant messenger and still trounces the competition, now that’s something.
    For you to appear in someone’s WhatsApp contacts, that means that the person has your phone number. (either you gave it out or the person gets it somehow) So being able to call flash or text someone after being blocked on WhatsApp is not a WhatsApp weakness. If you refuse to give someone your BBM pin and the person has your phone number, won’t s(he) still be able to call flash or text you? Is that a BBM weakness?

    Saiddigge, WhatsApp is definitely not slow. On which device if I may ask? Can BBM work on BB with s40 specs? But WhatsApp manages to pull that off!
    The only advantage I see from your comments is the ability to send any file.
    WhatsApp has its own group chat feature.
    But WhatsApp being on all significant platforms is a huge advantage – the numbers matter.

  7. @Said,
    BBM is ‘noisy’ and ‘recent update’ feature? I could care less about seeing “chilling @ shoprite” “just bought a new ride” “alone with wifey”

    The simplicity of whatsapp is its selling point….I prefer to just go in, chat with who I wanna den decide if I want to check profile pictures of status updates than for it to be all up in my face like how bbm does it….and in a clustered manner too! Yikes!

  8. @Muyo-san Mat… You can get brand new 3G capable BlackBerry (OS7) devices for less than 25,000 naira from authorised dealers. In your effort to throw away the baby with the bathwater you forgot that BBM is the only IM that informs you, that the recipient has read your message.

  9. Still the same thing I’m saying. You talk as one that has never really used BBM, as such you cannot appreciate its features. WhatsApp is simple, too simple for my interests, it doesn’t even offer choices of removing contacts, the only way you can get rid of a WhatsApp contact is by blocking them, even at that they see your profile changes. You say BBM is noisy, you don’t know jackshit about BBM, because if you do you’d know that all those “noisy” features can be easily disabled by unticking a few checkboxes in the options screen. BBM is much more than a messaging app, WhatsApp is a simple messaging app trying to be more. The beauty of BBM is that it can be set to fit your needs just fine, you want the simplicity of WhatsApp? You get it. You want more? You get it. WhatsApp doesn’t even tell you when a new contact is available. I maintain my initial stand, the writer doesn’t really know BBM, or its advantages

  10. Yeah, I’ve heard a couple of advantages that BBM has over WhatsApp, like the ability to hop into BBM and do one or two things without some contacts you don’t want to respond to their message knowing that you have been online and I do appreciate that but the only feature I’m actually looking forward to, which may be the real reason I will be adopting BBM is the ability to send any type of file.

    That’s a huge one for me and if WhatsApp should include that feature before BBM launches on other platforms, I may not be able to experience the other features that BB users are always bragging about.

  11. How can you say someone will get my number out of the blue? Have you forgotten the advantage of being UNKNOWN? But still being able to chat with people using bbm? I av said it. Whatsapp is only for family and friends. Bbm is for everyone, i can afford to post my bbm pin anywhere, i swear u cant post ur number anywhere. I av said it d only selling point whatsapp has FOR now is cross platform but when android takes over that will change.

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