I have been playing with the first smartphone to run Ubuntu for Phones, the BQ Aquaris E4.5 (See specifications and hands-on) for a few days

What would life in 2015 be like without instant messaging?

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I have been playing with the first smartphone to run Ubuntu for Phones, the BQ Aquaris E4.5 (See specifications and hands-on) for a few days now. The 4.5-inch smartphone is an interesting device. It is interesting because it is the first smartphone I am holding in years that lacks both of the instant messaging apps that I use on a day-to-day basis – BBM and WhatsApp. Using such a phone simply leaves me with a feeling of being disconnected from the world. Remember my March 2015 article, The question of apps and services for Ubuntuphones.


There’s a Twitter app. There’s Facebook too. There’s even also Google Plus. So social sharing isn’t non-existing on the platform. But 95% of my personal communications happen on BBM and WhatsApp. At first, I kept wondering how anyone in 2015 is expected to be able to comfortably use a smartphone without BBM and WhatsApp. It took a while for it to filter in, but it did. There are people – lots of people – who do not use either of these platforms. Ubuntu OS has Telegram installed, but something tells me that a person who does not use WhatsApp or BBM is not likely to be aware of or even use Telegram.

Anyway, back to the point: there are people who would be at home with the Aquaris E4.5. I eventually began to ask myself if I could. Could I live comfortably without my IM apps? Perhaps life would be a lot less noisy. Perhaps a lot more quiet and focused. Would good old email, SMS and phone calls do in 2015? I suspect that it is quite possible. I just am not sure if I am ready to test it out. So, for now, my primary SIM card stays in a phone that has my instant messaging apps running.


  1. my uncle is very tech savvy (Doctorate in Computer Science) yet he doesn’t use any IM platform. communication is done via voice calls, SMS or e mails. i find it very odd, but he manages to keep in touch as well as anyone i know

  2. That uncle must have attained adulthood when such things as IM were not existing / prevalent.. Most people are resistant to changrs and cling tenaciously to what they are familiar with ONLY.

    No, I fail to imagine being without WhatsApp. And as to email and SMS and voice calls being viable alternatives to keeping in touch, I guess it’s a matter of preference. Meanwhile, those do not have the instant appellation because, well, they are not instant enough. A ding-dong conversation can’t quite be carried out via SMS or email,and there are times when things are better expressed via text for clarity, posterity or record purposes. (Voice calls can be recorded but that may not be appropriate).

    I would feel cut off without my IM, just I feel when I don’t know the time / date.

  3. Well. Its actually possible. When my phone was stolen few months back… I was forced to ‘fast’ some months out – without IM-capable phone.

    So its possible – in rare exceptional cases

  4. Can’t imagine doing without my IMs,simply too convenient for me to do without,I mean even the call rates on them are far cheaper than on conventional calls..

  5. he’s 33, so no, IM wasn’t after “his time”. he has some quasi-IM apps (eg Slack/Jabber) on his other devices (tablets and Mac/PC) just not on his smartphone.

  6. they’re team collaboration apps, they essentially let people working in different locations collaborate on a project

  7. Trying to imagine what it’s like without IM is like trying to imagine what it is like not having a pc. You can manage and cope, but some things are simply better with it around.

    I could easily manage without the instant gratification of IM – after all, there are text messages. The world will not end but IM offers some comfort in terms of the ease of communications. I’m a fan of Telegram but unfortuantely not many people use it.

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