Ever since I got my first BlackBerry over 5 years ago, the feature I’ve loved the most is BBM, and that’s probably the same for most of you. It keeps me connected with my family and friends, it’s fast, reliable and secure but more importantly, it’s free if you have a data plan.
There are lots of applications out there that in theory do what BBM does, but I have yet to find one that’s even close to being as good as BBM. It’s so good, even Apple wanted to have one of it’s own and released iMessage, a service that, like BBM, let’s iPhone users text each other for free.
They might both have the same main objetive but, which one is better? Here are 5 ways in which BBM is better than iMessage:
1. Set Avatars, change status, etc.
This might not be the most important feature on BBM, but it’s defintiely something that users love having and iMessage users probably want. On BBM, you set your avatar with any image or animated GIF you want. You can also change your status to one of the predefined or personilize it, and you can set a custom personal message that all your contacts will see. So if let’s say, you want to announce something to all your contacts, but don’t wish to flood them with messages, just change your status and they’ll all be able to see it.
2. BBM Groups
Before you say “wait, iMessage can do that!” let me say, there’s a difference between a group chat and a BBM group. With BBM Groups the idea of group chats changes completely and it’s a lot more reliable and organized.
BBM Groups allow you to chat with a group of contacts on BBM. The group is always there and contacts can share calendar appointments, photos, lists and more with the entire group. You can also setup several groups, say for your family, co-workers, etc.
If you don’t like the idea of a BBM group (I honestly don’t know who wouldn’t!), you also get the possibility of just creating a group chat. You could also setup group chats, this is not the same a BBM Groups. Group chats are less feature packed compared to BBM groups, and work better when you just need to share something with a group of people, but don’t need to keep a BBM group active after you’re done.
3. BBM Video Calls and Screen Share
And here’s where BBM get’s the crown. The new BBM has included two awesome features, BBM Video Calls and Screen Share. While iOS can do Facetime, it’s not exactly part of iMessage. And you definitely can’t screen share.
BBM let’s you video call your contacts from within the app, directly from their chat screen. During a video call, thanks to the new Screen Share feature, you can show photos or your browser, or review a business document. You can even share the view from your camera. This can come quite in handy in almost any situation, business or personal.
4. BBID Synchronization
This feature was also added not too long ago, making BBM even better than it was. For all BBM users, you probably remember how much of a hastle it used to be to backup and restore your contacts and groups. This has been solved with BBID.
You can now sync your BBM contacts and groups with your BlackBerry ID, so when you switch your device all you have to do is long in to your account and all your contacts will be automatically synced. Pretty awesome, right? No need to worry about backing up, it’s done for you.
And yes, I know iOS backs up your information, but it’s not as smooth as BBID and if you don’t keep track or set it up, you could lose your contacts. With BBID it’s all taken care of.
5. Customize chat colors and more
Once again, this might not be the most important feature ever to have on a chat application, but we appreciate it, so thank you BlackBerry. You can set chat bubble colors for each contact, making it easier for you to not mess up and send the wrong message to the wrong person (we’ve all been there, and it sucks).
It’ll also integrate SMS and BBM so you no longer accidentally text a contact you already have on BBM, which is free. The only way iMessage helps with this is by setting the iMessage bubble blue, while the SMS bubble is green. That has got to take some developer skill to get that done….not.
There are lots of other things I could mention, but let’s leave it at that. What do you guys think and what would you add to the list? Let us know in the comments below!
iMessage backdrop on featured image via