It seems the trend, one RIM Co-CEOs were rumored to fear, is for companies to keep trying at a BlackBerry Messenger clone. Apple recently released iMessage in its latest iOS 5 beta. Now, Facebook is taking a crack at a similar service with Facebook Messenger. As usual, the vast majority of the media is calling the new FB Messenger a possible BBM killer. Here’s a break down of the Facebook Messenger and what you should know about it.
The Facebook Messenger app is a standalone version of the chat function you’d find in the normal Facebook app. You can use the FBM in conjunction with the Facebook app and have no problems. The premise for FBM seems to keep your usual contacts close. There isn’t a list of available friends online. You only see current messages you’ve had with friends and if they’re online a blue circle is next to their name. However, even if a friend isn’t listed, you can still send them a message.
You can share your location with your friends on FBM. The recipient can click the pin-drop button to pull up a map to see where you are. If you’re in a group chat, you can see where all friends in the chat are located.
Along with one-on-one chats, FBM lets you create group chats. We’re not sure if there is a limit in FBM, as there is in BBM. Nonetheless, in FBM you can share media with all others (currently only photos).
The Facebook Messenger is looking to connect you to your friends and contacts, no matter their mobile platform. Although, there is no FBM for BlackBerry yet. It’s clear that BlackBerry Messenger has some viable competitors looking to get in on some of the action like this chat client. However, the Facebook Messenger, iMessage, and 3rd party apps still seem like infants compared to BlackBerry Messenger. RIM has truly done a wonderful job at making BBM the leading chat client, one others are trying hard to emulate.
While I may be a huge BlackBerry fan, I still value other mobile platforms. Good competition can sometimes make for better products in the marketplace. Rest assured, at this rate, the mass media has it all wrong about any of these currently being a BBM killer. Hopefully, RIM will continue to innovate so we won’t see this part of the mobile space ever taken over by the competition.