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BBM v/s Whatsapp

Instant Messaging has become the new hip today. Everyone who owns a Smartphone uses IM services on a regular basis, rather every single day. Calling has now become a secondary option to IMs as it is costly and does not allow for multitasking as well as one to many communications. So for that purposes IMs are the best where you can talk to your friends, family, near and dear ones. BBM earlier was an exclusive IM for Blackberry phones, but now it has even released it for Android and iOS making it a great cross –platform IM. On the other hand Whatsapp which is pegged as an SMS killer was the first cross-platform IM which launched for Android and iOS and later moved on to Symbian, Windows and Blackberry. Now it has so happened that these two are the best IMs and the most used ones. So now that BBM has arrived for Android and iOS, it has to be seen which IM is better than the other.

Setup:

Setting up both the IMs is pretty simple. All you need to do it to download the app from the respective play stores and you are done. But after that starts the actual play. For Whatsapp, it is directly connected to you phone number. Hence all you need to do is send a verification SMS which it sends automatically and confirms and then voila, you are done; simple as that. But for BBM you need to create a BBM account and use your email to confirm and verify the account. This is a bit tedious and can sometimes even frustrate you. But after that you are finally done and then you will receive your unique PIN.

BBM Vs WhatsApp

Profile & Status:

After setting up your app, then comes the next step of setting up your profile. As for Whatsapp, it always sets up a default status at the beginning that says “Hi there, I am using Whatsapp”. You can always change this to whatever you want later on in the status menu. Also at the beginning you need to enter the name you want displayed and your profile photo. This step is also can be skipped and you can later come back and change your name and profile picture. This is the same with BBM as well, nothing much different there. Though there is also an option here which is good that says you are busy. Whatsapp also has many pre-defined statuses, but that is about it.

Contacts:

Adding contacts in Whatsapp and BBM is a totally different affair. Whatsapp uses phone numbers of people to add them to Whatsapp. Now this can either be a tedious thing or the best thing ever depending on how you see and perceive things. The best part is that Whatsapp accesses your entire phonebook and detects the contacts that are already on Whatsapp and displays them. And if you have to add a new contact, then you have to manually add the phone number first in the phonebook and then Whatsapp detects the contact and then you can talk. This is can be a bit of a disadvantage as well as suppose there is someone you don’t want to talk to more than once, then still he/she will have your phone number. So they can keep troubling you via SMS and phone calls. Though you can block contacts on Whatsapp, but you cannot block that. Also if you are planning to switch devices, you will need to copy your entire phonebook to get all your Whatsapp contacts.

BBM on the other hand uses the PIN format where BBM generates a unique PIN for you. This PIN can be shared via many different ways like individually over SMS, on Social networks and if the person is right next to you then you can share the QR code of the PIN and add the person on BBM. Now with the new NFC you can also tap and add contacts using NFC. This PIN system does not require phone numbers, so that hassles are not there, but you have to build the entire contact list from scratch. And if you happen to be changing phones, then this is amazingly tedious. But now the cloud technology is helpful here where you can take a backup of the entire contact list on the cloud and then restore it on the new phone. Now that is simple.

Texting:

Texting is the main motto of IMs, and that is what is should be used for as well. Both BBM and Whatsapp have a pretty good texting experience where messages are delivered pretty quickly without much lags. The only difference is that BBM is a bit more detailed. In Whatsapp the messages shows ticks. 1 tick indicates that the message has been sent to the server and the 2 ticks indicate that the message has been delivered to the other user. In BBM though 1 tick indicates that the message has been sent, a tick with a “D” on it indicates that the message has been delivered and a tick with an “R” indicates that the message has been read.

Group Chat:

Group chats on both the IMs is pretty awesome. Simple and smooth, but BBM has more features and advantages to it. BBM has something called channels in it to which you can subscribe to and then you can get updates from there like calendars, work, etc. and the best part is that this is completely private and no one can see which channel you are subscribed to unlike Facebook, Twitter, etc. Another huge thing missing on BBM is the absence of sharing of files which is a huge let down. Whatsapp scores here.

File sharing:

Sharing Files on both IMs is a good experience as both the IMs share all kinds of regular stuff like images, audio, videos, location, contacts, etc. But BBM scores over Whatsapp in one place that in BBM you can push over any type of file to the other person. So you can also send your documents, presentations, etc.

Voice & video:

IMs were made with a sole purpose of texting, but with advent of cameras on cell phones, Voice and video services have also begun on BBM and Whatsapp. Whatsapp though does not support real-time audio calls and video calls over the internet which BBM does. Whatsapp has only recently introduced voice messages where you can record your voice messages and send them instantly, but it is still not comparable to BBM.

Emoticons:

This is where no one till date has been able to beat Whatsapp. It has the biggest collection of emoticons with a total count of 189 which completely blows off BBM’s 60. Though BBM has over 600 more emoticons hidden inside, you need to know the code for it, else use those third party apps that keep the database for you.

Personalization & notifications:

Both BBM and Whatsapp allow for customizations. In Whatsapp you can change the background wallpaper to whichever you want. Also in both BBM and Whatsapp you can change the notification tone, the vibration tone, etc. there are many customization options for both. Also both the apps provide Homescreen notifications as well. So you won’t have to worry about missing out on any message or notifications.

So after thoroughly going through both the IMs we come to a conclusion that both Whatsapp and BBM are pretty evenly matched and both have their pros and cons. BBM though has much better features than Whatsapp so our verdict is BBM as a better IM service. Now a tough challenge ahead for BBM will be to get all those users who have already accustomed to Whatsapp, make them shift to and use BBM as their daily driver. People might actually sign up to BBM just out of a status symbol as they also have BBM now, but other than that, only time will tell.