BlackBerry Messenger is Back! Here's What's Good and Bad About the New BBM App

After much ado, BlackBerry launched its app for iOS and Android. It's got some good features - and some drawbacks

Those who have been patiently waiting for BlackBerry to make its way into the modern era finally have their day: The delayed BlackBerry Messenger — or BBM — is finally available as a messaging tool for iOS and Android (formerly known as competing platforms). And if that sounds like you, you were among a few others — specifically 10 million people in the first day — to download the app right away.

If you don’t have your hands on yours yet — or if you’re a non-Blackberry-er thinking of testing the waters — here are 10 basic things to know about it.

First the good...

You can attach files to your messages, and send them to groups of people (as large as 30) or individuals. You can also send voice notes. The interface makes the whole process super easy and clear.

You can add a little photo (or even a gif) to identify yourself in your messages, similar to the way you might do using your desktop computer. 

You can use an array of fun emoticons with abandon.

You can make your status visible, so people can know if, for instance, you’re “in a meeting” before trying to message you.

When you send a message, you’ll know when it’s been delivered and when your recipient has seen it, thanks to a read receipt. You might find this useful — or just a TMI tool to overanalyze people’s reactions to your personal notes. (Come on, we’ve all been there.) You can also see when someone is responding.

It’s super fast.

And now the bad…

You can’t share videos, like you can using an alternative platform like Apple's iMessage.

You can’t share contacts using the app.

You can’t make free voice and video calls using Wi-Fi anywhere in the world — so an app like Viber is still a better alternative for that purpose. (This is something you can do if you actually use BBM on your BlackBerry.)

Want to give it a try? First you’ll need a unique PIN, which you’ll get after you install the app. (You might need to wait a short while in the digital queue before you’re ready to use.) You can text or email people you want to message from within the app to get their codes. Thanks to the PIN, you never have to give out your phone number to someone you just met, for instance.

Let us know: What do you think of the new BBM app?

Alesandra Dubin is a Los Angeles-based writer and the founder of home and travel blog Homebody in Motion. Follow her on FacebookGoogle+ and Twitter.

 

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