The BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) for Android and iOS were scheduled for a late September launch. After various leaks demonstrating the app’s functionality in a video and other APK leaks, today we finally get our hands on the app from BlackBerry. While the app has been launched for iOS, it is still not available on the Play Store at the time of writing. The version we use for this review is 126.96.36.199 which comes from a leaked APK that we offered for download earlier.
Upon initial launch, you are prompted to either create a BlackBerry ID and if you have one, you can directly sign in after which you can see some tips that help you use the app and understand its functioning.
The fact that BBM icon stays in the notification bar is really annoying to me but it is to make sure that BBM service is always running in the background. And yes, you shouldn’t be greenifying it because if the icon disappears from the notification bar, the app gets killed in the background.
The interface of BBM is cluttered. You have way too many options but that is essential considering the features it has to offer you. Apps like WhatsApp have limited features hence you don’t get to see too many options there. On the left pane, you see Chats, Contacts, Groups, Updates and Invites tab. All of these are pretty self explanatory.
Privacy is something you get with BBM and not with other apps. You don’t need to share your phone number to add someone as a contact. All you need is a BBM PIN which you can get by tapping on your name and select the option to show QR code on the bottom.
Viewing activities is something that makes BBM unique. It shows you the activity of your BBM friends and lets you see what music they are listening to.
So when you open up a conversation, the keyboard automatically pops up which is annoying. The bottom right of my SwiftKey shows a button which is used to send a message. Also the messages are marked which a gray icon which means that the message has been sent. A blue “D” marks the delivery of the message and a green “R” means that the message has been read by the receiver.
You can also send pictures by pressing the menu button or the button on the bottom right of the screen. It also lets you send a PING which is similar to sending a Buzz in Yahoo Messenger. You can also view profile pictures of your friends just like how you do in WhatsApp but BBM does offer some additional features along with just viewing the profile pictures.
Talking about the peformance of the app, it is as smooth as WhatsApp is. It doesn’t lag at all and doesn’t slow down the performance of your device either. BBM is great but I doubt if it would beat WhatsApp in the messaging arena. Privacy and Updates is something that we love to see in WhatsApp. However, the app would be great if you have too many friends using it. Since I have only 10-12 friends on BBM as of now, I don’t seem to be using it much. Lets hope for some good number of downloads once the app is in Play Store.