A hot debate between smartphone users in Kenya and beyond, arises when you ask them the better instant messaging app between Whatsapp and Blackberry Messenger.
Most of the time, people tend to be biased in their opinions on this matter. And that’s why those who have for long been using Whatsapp will tend to favor it, while long-term fans of Blackberry will also tend to favor their own “candidate”.
Now, we took it upon ourselves to analyze both apps critically with the aim of deciding the better of the two. So, if your defense of your favored app has been based on bias, read this post to know if you’ve been right or wrong.
No doubt, both Whatsapp and BBM are great applications, but we strongly believe that among two different things, one will always be better. So, let’s roll…
Whatsapp uses your phone number to create your account, but BBM uses a mixture of alphabets and numbers called “PIN”. Whatsapp’s setup process is easier, since you don’t have to remember passwords while shifting to a new device. It just sends you a verification SMS and scans for it. Interestingly, you can retain your original number as your ID even after you’ve switched to a new SIM card or smartphone.
In addition, Whatsapp automatically tells the friends you have in your contacts that you’re on Whatsapp, and shows you the same about them. On the downside, you have to give out your number for a new friend to be able to add you. Also, you must put your SIM card into a new device when switching to set up Whatsapp.
BBM, on the other hand doesn’t require you to input your number during setup, but you have to start building up your BBM contact list from scratch.
2. Contact management
To successfully add someone to your Whatsapp contact list, you need to first add them to your device’s contact list. This shouldn’t be. But you’re allowed to block any contact from sending you messages. And you can mark some contacts as favorites for easy access.
Adding contacts on BBM isn’t smooth either. The PINs could be a hassle, but the barcode scanning option has made this much easier.
3. Text chat
Both apps are made basically for instant text messaging. They both provide typing, delivery, and read indications. On top of that, Whatsapp lets you know when the user was last active.
4. File sharing
Whatsapp only allows you to share pictures and video files, but BBM allows you to send and receive files of any type. Both apps can send contacts and location, too. BBM also allows groups of people to share images only. These group pictures have robust caption, comment, and upvoting features.
5. Group chat
Both Whatsapp and BBM support group chats, but BBM’s offering is richer. Both allow you to share images to a group, but BBM groups don’t support video sharing.
On the other hand, Whatsapp maintains file-sharing parity with one-on-one chat. But BBM makes up for its deficit with shared to-do lists and events, plus a more elaborate interface for easy access to all that content. Groups on BBM can also host multiple separate conversations, and this is great for larger groups.
The big deal for BBM group chat are the channels. These allow you to anonymously subscribe to channels that broadcast all kinds of content. Direct chat can be enabled between channel owners and followers, too, which is good for promoting engagement.
6. Voice and video chat
Both BBM and Whatsapp allow you to send audio snippets recorded directly from your device. The quality of real time VoIP on BBM is fantastic, and despite having a snappy push-to-talk implementation, voice notes sent across Whatsapp are usually laggy.
Although Whatsapp allows you to share video files, there’s no live video chat, which BBM allows.
7. Emoticons and personalization
Whatsapp comes with 189 core emoticons. And that clearly trumps BBM’s 90 emoticons. But to make up for that, BBM enjoys a few points of personalization that you won’t find on Whatsapp. For example, there’s the PING action that indirectly tells the person at the other end that they’re replying too slowly.
However, Whatsapp also allows you to swap in custom wallpapers for your chat windows. This feature is lacking in BBM.
8. Status and profile
Both BBM and Whatsapp have profile structures that support custom status messages and profile pictures. BBM allows you to display a busy icon structure, and you have the option to display what music you’re listening to in the native music player.
BBM profiles can also be linked to apps, providing practical functions like updating your status with your latest Foursquare check-in. Whatsapp only has an impressive selection of preset status messages, nothing more.
Both apps have their own upsides and downsides, and that makes it difficult to choose a winner. But considering our analysis so far, we give it to BBM.
What do you think?
In Kenya I bet Whatsapp users are many than BBM for it seems more of complicated.