The most beloved BlackBerry native app is hands down BBM. As one of the most used apps on each of our BlackBerry devices, BBM has become a staple in the success of BlackBerry. Many users swear that one of the main reasons they still have or have gotten a BlackBerry is solely based on RIM's popular instant messenger.
Through out the last couple of years though many companies have come out with their own versions of BBM for other platforms. Apps like Qik, WhatsApp, and others have tried to take a bite out of the instant messaging monopoly that is BBM. Most have failed at prying users away from BBM to use their own apps though. Other instant messaging apps that are still to be released, like iMessage for example, aim to copy BBM's look and feel but still lack that certain "je ne sais quoi."
So why is it that BBM has been so successful? What is it that makes it so addicting and fun to use? Here are 10 reasons, in no particular order, why this is the case:
1. PIN (Personal Identification Number) is not exactly "personal."
As we all know, in order to add someone to BBM you must either add their PIN or scan their barcode onto your device. This number is unique to each device and cannot be changed or swapped. Once you add someone to BBM and they're in your contact list, you have access to their PIN information but that's it and that's where the key lies. There's no exchange of personal information between parties without consent. Your email address, phone number; etc is never shared via BBM unless you want to.
2. Encryption, encryption, encryption.
Messages sent via BBM run through RIM's secure servers and they are not (and cannot be accessed) by anyone. Afterwards, once a BBM chat is deleted it is gone forever. Untraceable and undetectable.
3. No need to sign up for BlackBerry Messenger.
Pretty self-explanatory but it is seriously a great part of BlackBerry Messenger. Once you open the app, you get prompted to enter a Display Name and voila! You're done. No more set up necessary.
4. Display Pictures and Status Messages.
You either love them or hate them. Certain people tend to overuse status messages and/or need to change their Display Pictures every 5 minutes (we all know at least one person like that), but aside from that, BlackBerry Messenger's use of Status Messages and Display Pictures makes it fun. Both of these features are personal favorites of mine, because as many long time BlackBerry users know, BBM wasn't always this cool (think about the little blue figures and/or smiley faces that were the icons). Since the addition of Display Pictures though, BBM has skyrocketed in popularity and understandably so.
5. Check, D, and R.
How many times have you caught yourself waiting for the D to change to an R on a sent BBM? Or thought, "they read it already, why haven't they answered yet?" Seriously, the sent (check mark), delivered (D) and read (R) receipts are the most copied feature of BBM. Any app that aims to even be considered a worthy opponent of BBM must include this feature. Once you've opened a BBM, you know you have to answer soon (I know you read it!).
6. It's actually instant.
Despite their greatest attempts, most BBM copycat apps fail at the instant part of instant messaging. They either lag too much or take way too long to send and receive messages. This is where BBM excels. Yes, we've all gone through BBM outages in which the stupid red clock comes on, but honestly that's a rare exception of how reliable and quick BBM is to communicate and this cannot be understated.
7. Groups and Broadcast Messages.
We put these two together because they are one of the most loved and hated features on BBM each.
Groups are not just a chat between multiple contacts (you hear that iMessage?). Groups allow to people of common interest to share one or multiple chats with each other without having to have any of these members on your BBM contact list. Groups can also share pictures, calendars, and task lists.
Broadcast Messages allow a user to share a single message with multiple people on BBM in one shot. Hopefully future versions of BBM will add an option to disable Broadcast Messages as sometimes they can get a little out of hand from some people.
8. Part of the BlackBerry OS.
When you turn on your BlackBerry for the first time BBM will be there. No one will have to remind you to download BBM because it is part of the Operating System. As such, it also integrates perfectly with the Address Book. For example, if a BBM contact is linked to an address book entry, you can press the Call button and be prompted to call that contact. All part of the integration of BBM in the BlackBerry OS.
9. Restore Contact Lists Remotely.
When you switch devices, BBM comes with you. Although your PIN changes, your Contact List can be restored via email or file saved on an SD card upon opening BBM on a new device for the first time. By the same token, you can back up your contact list remotely at any time within the app.
10. Multimedia sharing.
BBM contacts can share pictures, videos, files, locations and voice notes between each other. This makes BBM super convenient as you will realize you no longer will send or receive any type MMS to or from any contact on your BBM list as you will send any multimedia over BBM.
Voice notes are also an awesome way to communicate vocally quickly without having to make a phone call to a contact. You can save these voice notes and even set them as ring tones if you felt like it.
BlackBerry Messenger is obviously a great applications. Many other apps have some of these features available but BBM is the only one that has ALL of them in one package. Until another app is able to do all this and more, BBM will stand alone atop the instant messaging podium.
RIM isn't content with BlackBerry Messenger only having these features. We know the BBM Social Platform SDK has been released which will enable developers to integrate their apps with BBM. This will surely bring even more attention to it and will hopefully lead the charge in RIM's future resurgence.
So tell us, what's your favorite part of BBM?