iMessage vs. BBM: Why iMessage is better

It’s no secret, BlackBerry is in free fall. Before the iPhone was launched RIM handsets were the most popularly consumed smartphones. Major selling points were the efficiency of email, reliability and – of course – BlackBerry Messenger. The free IM client which sent messages, images and voice notes across continents for no extra cost was a huge selling point. Even now – in the UK at least – young teens carry their Curves around BBMing each other all day, every day knowing there’s no chance of a huge bill at the end of the month. Then, Apple dropped a bombshell – iMessage.

Initial response was “hey, they’re copying BlackBerry!” That may be the case, but, Apple’s done a much better job with it. Here’s why:

1. No Separate App

Today, the number 1 question from my friends recently adopting iOS 5 is “where’s the iMessage app?” (One called it “iText” – needless to say, I shouted at him a little.)  So used to the culture of BlackBerry’s BBM client, people expect the same from Apple. BBM can be complicated and long-drawn out affair, especially when you consider that all you want to do is send someone a short message. First, you have to make sure your BlackBerry service is up and running, then download the latest app market/world. Every time I update my Blackberry to a newer model, I spend longer than necessary just getting these services up and running. With iMessage you just enter your messages app as usual, and send a text the usual way. No fuss.

2. No messing around with PINs.

Once you have BBM installed you can’t just send someone a message, you need their PIN. So, you invite them to be a contact on the messenger and wait for a response. This – in my experience – can take days, especially if that person has never used it before. My parents both had BlackBerrys for years before I introduced them to BBM.  After a long back-and-forth with them via text, they finally got set up, and they still forget to use it – reverting back to just sending a text message instead. With iMessage, all you need to do is send a message. If your contact also has iOS 5 it detects it and sends an iMessage. You don’t have to do anything. That alone should be reason enough, but there’s more.

3. Not stuck to one type of device

BBM is only great if you have a RIM-made smartphone. There’s no other way to use it – yet. Even BlackBerry’s Playbook needs to be tethered to a phone to work. Of course there have been rumors of the BlackBerry messaging service making its way to Android and iOS, but it’s not here yet. iMessage will work on any iOS device running iOS 5. This is a massive number of devices. Millions upon millions of consumers have purchased an iPod Touch, iPad or iPhones over the past 2 years, and all will be able to use iMessage.

4. iOS is very popular

With RIM’s market share dropping so fast, BBM’s potential usability is taking a hit too. Simply put – there are less people to message. With iOS holding a 44% market share (including iPods and iPads) there’s a massive network of people with the ability to iMessage.

Let me know your thoughts on this. These are clearly my own, and there could be many reasons why you think BBM is better. Is it safer? Does having a QWERTY keyboard make it an easier task to actually type messages? Are you a die-hard BlackBerry fan? Comment below, or tweet me: @TiP_Cam

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  • Wesley Elling

    I think it will be really popular once everyone finishes updating, I’m hopIng for a desktop app for Mac soon. But over all it’s a great service!

  • Sip

    I think you must have been drunk when u wrote this…

    1. i like the separation of bbm to texts – if you cant figure out its separate apps and how to access them…then clearly you shouldn’t be using a phone. “This — in my experience — can take days,” – clearly they didnt want to talk to you.

    2. Blackberry handsets are abundant and if the rumours become true then bbm wins iMessage with accessibility. iMessage is only accessible to apple prods just as bbm is accessible only by bb.

    Also pt 4 just looks like you are filling up space, it belongs to pt 3.

    • Justine B.

      Don’t be bitter Sip ! I partly agree with what you are saying but why saying he was drunk when he wrote this?? I’m sure many people don’t share your opinion and I think his article is pretty accurate. 

      I use both Iphone and BB and I think BBM is great, probably the only reason why I keep my BB. But now that the Iphone has a similar feature I don’t think I’m going to stick with my Blackberry. I think it’s going to be a goodbye Blackberry for a lot of people …. 

  • Anonymous

    I have compared both since the update – iMessage is not a match for BBM. iMessage is more of automagic and without display picture or status message, BBM wins it conclusively.

  • #IsRIMMDeadYet?

    You state very clear and compelling reasons iMessage is better than BBM.  As an owner of iOS devices and a Bold (with OS 6), the only advantage my Blackberry clearly has over anything else is the magic keyboard.  Although I’m getting better with the iPad keyboard, my efficiency there is only 50% that of the Bold.  I might mention BES in the appropriate audience, but I’m not employed at this time by a corp. that is using BES.

  • #IsRIMMDeadYet?

    You state very clear and compelling reasons iMessage is better than BBM.  As an owner of iOS devices and a Bold (with OS 6), the only advantage my Blackberry clearly has over anything else is the magic keyboard.  Although I’m getting better with the iPad keyboard, my efficiency there is only 50% that of the Bold.  I might mention BES in the appropriate audience, but I’m not employed at this time by a corp. that is using BES.

  • Raginasexwale

    In my opinion I expected more from iMessage, I want a seperate app where I can see which of my contacts actually have a iPhone/iPad or iPod touch that is compatable with this service, ATM I myt aswell just stick to watsapp because that is by far the best app to keep in touch with friends!!!

  • Phillyone

    There’s no chance for iMessage killing off BBM in the form its been
    released in. As a user with both phones and a strong BBM user, I can
    tell you that its no match. Its simple, there is no 1 place on IOS5 to
    see ONLY your iMessage contacts. BBM is used like facebook/twitter,
    thats why its popular, people like to look at your status updates and
    comment on them straight away. iMessage does NOT support this. People
    also like to change their display pictures quite frequently as an easy
    way of sharing it with their friends instantly, iMessage does NOT
    support this either. Most people I have spoken to cannot even find how
    to use iMessage on the phone, its built into the Messages app you say?
    well why even call it iMessage then? its just a different transfer
    method for MMS messages. There are no Groups in iMessage, I cannot
    invite a dedicated number of people into one group which has a topic,
    upload images to it, the concept just doesn’t exist in iMessage.

    One of the major feature’s of BBM is selective broadcast messages, very
    good for people who are into entertainment to spread their content
    quickly, this doesn’t exist in iMessage. PIN requests; the fact that you
    can “accept” and “reject” pin requests and delete people off your list
    causing you to vanish off the other users list is another important
    aspect of BBM, it gives control to the user over who they want to speak
    to and remain connected with. This doesnt exist in iMessage.

    So instead of comparing iMessage to BBM, compare it to blackberry’s PIN
    messaging functionality. Which does exactly what iMessage does. iMessage
    is NOT about social networking, it is about free messages. BBM IS about
    social networking, you can go as far as calling it the new facebook.
    Anyone who thinks iMessage will kill off BBM, just doesn’t actually know
    much about blackberry messenger. This can change in the future ofcourse
    depending on what apple decide to do with it, but for now? No Chance

  • Contrerassam21

    Well most people can’t afford stupid iphones so they buy the affordable price blackberries which has BBM that they’re already used to.

    • Fredp86

       iPhone 3GS is Free, and iPhone 4 is 99.. those are both affordable prices. not a bad price for 199 with the new 4s. So price is not the main concern. BlackBerry has the same prices.

    • http://www.phonedog.com Taylor Martin

      Lest we forget that the latest BlackBerry handsets were just as expensive as some iPhone models. ($300 on contract with T-Mobile for a 9900.)

  • Jhynes2

    When it comes to Blackberry bashing you do not have to be truthful or accurate apparently!

  • Jiril Abraham

    for people (and those people are the majority eg. my mum n dad) who just use iphone to make phone calls will not be bothered about updating it as long as they can make phone calls and as my mum says “plays good music”.  so unless apple makes it mandatory that every iproduct has to be upgraded to ios5 i dont think imessge will catch up like bbm.  

    +

    there needs to be more clarity about iMessage as most people (including me) are expecitng a seperate app like blackberry and when that deos not appear after the initial upgrad there will be few confused people around like me…  :)

  • digsoreos

    Your first point goes against the Apple culture of building apps for everything, so I don’t think that is limited to RIM. “There’s an app for that” comes from Apple after all. ;)

  • Hmmm,m

    Bbm is not free. You have to pay for their shitty service in order to use it

  • http://twitter.com/domigit Dom Innocente

    The only thing I disagree with is #4. The messaging service does not become better than another simply because the operating system is more popular.

  • Cam Bunton

    Obviously, BlackBerry fans are assuming that I’m “hating on” BlackBerry, and that simply isn’t the case. I have an iPhone and a BlackBerry, and I could live without either. I can’t get away with sending emails for work without a physical keyboard, and since BBerrys are more reliable (generally) than Android handsets I have one. 

    I love BlackBerry. 

    My point is, that BBM needs to change to make it easier to use. If my parents can’t set it up without a lot of help there’s something wrong there. 

    • Danny

      Sounds like you didn’t even show them how to set it up. It’s pretty much, “here, click this.”, now we’re done. I don’t understand how you find BBM difficult to setup or use. A 4 year old could use it.

    • Guest

      Sounds like you parents are retards considering that every BlackBerry user by default has BBM installed and is automatically online…all that’s left to do is add contacts.

      LOL

      • Dave

        you crapberry fanboys sound like snobby losers still living in your parents basement.

        You must have been dropped on your head numerous times as a child if you think someone that has problems with BB’s user interface is automatically “retarded”.

        Blackberry’s UI makes absolutely no sense to people who haven’t used Blackberrys before. Get a clue. This is why RIM’s market share is dropping faster than flies.

  • Quentinlovesnikes

    You have to realize, those who care about cell phone technology(anyone whose been on this site undoubtedly) and those who don’t(which sounds like your parent’s) can tell you that setting up anything on a piece of tech can be extremely easy or seemingly impossible.  Apple doesn’t seem to want to compete with BBM at this time at least to me,and from the lackluster feature set of iMessage and lack of a dedicated app tells me they don’t want a lot of attention on it.  That said I am a iPhone user, and have a BlackBerry like many of you, and I just don’t believe this version of iMessage is a competitor to virtually any IM service on the app store except for the fact that iPod Touch users and those who do use their iPhones to primarily talk/text/email wouldn’t have to set foot in the app store to use it.

  • Anonymous

    tiny.cc/qcfnd

  • Chiz

    Worst article in history period. ! All your reasons are incorrect …. 1. Separate app is preferred. 2. It doesn’t just use pin, it also uses emails like Imessage, but gives ppl the option of Pin, email, bar code etc. 3. There are more different model BlackBerry’s then Iphones/Ipods plus the Playbook! 4. Sure there are a lot of Iphones and Ipods, but only the ones that upgraded will be able to use this (If the phone is even ios5 supported), and don’t forget it only came out yesterday!. 

  • James

    There’s nothing useful in this article. BBM vs. iMessage is like comparing apples to oranges. When I update my Blackberry all I have to do is insert the SIM card, everything else is setup by itself. If your parents had a hard time remembering to send a BBM then the problem is with your parents, not the device. I like my MBP and my iPod, but truthfully Apple’s mobile devices are not appealing to me at all.

  • G_wilson0254

    ok as someone who has pretty much given up on BB and is purchasing an iPhone4, I can say that this comparison is bad. For starters this should only be two points because your first and second point are the same thing and your third and fourth are the same thing. Next, the best feature about BBm is that it is separate from your regular messages. You can have BBM pics and statuses and groups. I havent used iMessage but from what im hearing, it has none of this. Its just a transparent way to “save money” But for most americans anyway (not being narrow minded but only going to explore the market that i know) its pretty redundant because MOST of us have unlimited text messages these days. I can see it helping with people who go overseas but not for domestics.

    I personally think that Apple should just go the whole 9 yards and FULLY copy BBM as a separate entity from text messages. iMessage in its current form is plain useless!

  • G_wilson0254

    ok as someone who has pretty much given up on BB and is purchasing an iPhone4, I can say that this comparison is bad. For starters this should only be two points because your first and second point are the same thing and your third and fourth are the same thing. Next, the best feature about BBm is that it is separate from your regular messages. You can have BBM pics and statuses and groups. I havent used iMessage but from what im hearing, it has none of this. Its just a transparent way to “save money” But for most americans anyway (not being narrow minded but only going to explore the market that i know) its pretty redundant because MOST of us have unlimited text messages these days. I can see it helping with people who go overseas but not for domestics.

    I personally think that Apple should just go the whole 9 yards and FULLY copy BBM as a separate entity from text messages. iMessage in its current form is plain useless!

  • Guest

    LOL…is this article for real?  Are some iPhone users really this out of touch?  Look, I understand that you have been deprived of having a BBM type solution for years and therefore think that iMessage is actually good and cool, but you are WAY off point here.  BBM has 100 advantages over iMessage.  Here are a few bigs ones without going on a giant rant:  1) Groups – have any idea how many millions of BBM groups exist?  Groups for work, groups for family, groups for friends.  2)  BBM Social Platform and BBM Gaming – developers can tap into BBM APIs and add BBM functionality to their apps and games such as achievement sharing, game invites, etc.  3)  Security – BES enabled users have unmatchable security and encryption, something that iMessage can’t even begin to compete with.  Shall I continue?

    • Guest

      1) actually, you can create a group in imessage.
      2) you’re really going to compare apps between blackberry and apple? lol
      3) the security IS awesome on BBM.  Too bad there about once a month, their servers crash and NO ONE can access it.  lol

      • Adud44

        ok first off i have both.. and the groups we speak of.. have status’, pictures, are customizable,, i could continue.. but why continue with your asinine comment on outages .. 3 outages in 10years is hardly once a month… 

  • Anderson

    how old is the person that wrote this – really – #4 its better cause IOS is popular

    the pin is just an extension of contact info 
    you would still need and contact identifier for someone to send them a imessage – email , phone number to text

    very poor write up 

  • Anderson

    how old is the person that wrote this – really – #4 its better cause IOS is popular

    the pin is just an extension of contact info 
    you would still need and contact identifier for someone to send them a imessage – email , phone number to text

    very poor write up 

  • noneya

    This is a horrible article. It ever not worth skimming.

    Get your facts straight.  BB’s rock because:
       1. delivered and read reports w/ bbm
       2. low power usage (requires less energy per email than any other device)
       3. super fast charge time (20-30) from nothing to full battery
       4. keyboard
       5. SECURITY (yes, I pay for a “shitty” service that keeps my email and calls secure)
       6. system options – believe it or not, BB’s have more systems options than any other device)

    People will realize they are expecting too much from their device and they don’t really need an app that counts how many times they’ve wiped their ass (and sucks up all available resources and crashed every five minutes.)  Priorities for me: SECURE calls, email, sms, light web browser (for addresses), and Google maps. Everything else is gravy.  People really are like sheep. I can wait for someone write the first really infectious virus that’s destructive towards iOS / Androids (sorry Google).  

    You guys should watch what goes on at Defcon every year and maybe you’d understand how careful you need to be with your personal data:

    http://www.infoworld.com/t/hacking/defcon-hackers-target-cell-phone-security-742

    • Guest

      1. iMessage has delivered and read reports as well
      2. Power usage? Sure but my friends with blackberries have to charge their phones twice in a day
      3. Again, when you’re full battery lasts you less than 10 hours, it shouldn’t take you more than 30 minutes to charge
      4. fair enough. for those of you with little hand-eye coordination, an iphone is way to advanced for you. LOL
      5. I love the SECURITY on BBM.  Especially when they shut down their servers and no one can use it for 24 hours.  I wonder how much business was lost in that debacle.  But hey, if no one can access BBM, it’s secure! hahahahahah
      6. iOS5 is way beyone any of the BB’s options are.  They can offer 100 systems but they would all be inferior to the iOS5. 

      Other than that, good points! NOT! lolololoolololol!!!

      • noneya

        1.  Delivered and read reports – awesome!  That feature probably came with the copy/paste functionality. 
        2.  My car battery lasts < 10 hours w/o the alternator, but takes 24 hours to charge.  The battery is all of my BB's last a minimum of 36 hours (varies on email traffic) so I'm not sure where your pulled 10 hours from. The bottom line is touchscreen and Activesync email wastes too much energy which is probably what you guys from your iPhone. 
        3.  If I need an "advanced" device, I'll use my playbook or one of my PC's.  My primary expectations for a cell phone is to be, well a cell phone.  Its hard for the iPhone to be a cell phones with a drop-call rate exceeding 33%.  I don't need an app to track how many times I wipe my ass.  I don't need an advanced device that you have to hold in a special manner as to not interfere with the reception.  (Jobs: "your not holding your phone incorrectly"  - seriously?  You're okay with him calling all of you idiots?  I don't need an advanced device telling my mom "I like shaved pussy" (damnyouautocorrect.com)
        4.  You should manage a datacenter (I manage five internationally) and then maybe you'll begin to appreciate whats involved with highly-available services.  Oh, right, you use consumer devices – Enterprise equipment and solutions are foreign to you.  I think you'd begin to appreciate security if someone hacked your iPhone and  told your boss to f-off.
        5. I disagree.  iOS is stable platform when compared to Andriod, but more advanced over BB?  Negative ghost rider. BB's has a ridiculous amount of options and feature sets.  I've literally had the same "image" on my bb's for 7 years and am consistently finding new hidden features.  You should read up on QNX/BBX. We all know RIM will f-up the deployment, but in the end release a solid product.  Apple is far from perfect when it comes to deployment as well, just ask SIRI (since you don't have a fire ass QWERTY keyboard and are unable to type without looking).

        There are two types of Mac users: 1. really intelligent people who are actually able to navigate a UNIX GUI (<10%).  2. Techtards who have no business any where near a keyboard, but insist on following the lead sheep.

        FWIW, I'm a systems engineer who primarily works within Linux environments.

        • Guest

          1. Nope. I just activated that function in “Settings”.  Heard of it?
          2. You must have a special BB since all of my friends that have them, their main pain point is the battery life of their handsets.  Theirs are about 2 years old but the quality of a phone you pay that much for should be better.
          3. Drawing on old issues I see.  There have not been any reception issues after the first release of the iphone 4.  I have had no issues with dropped calls and it’s never a complaint that comes up among iphone users since the first iphone 4.  I would be interested where you pulled the 33% drop call rate number from.  Probably a RIM funded article.  How many of those dropped calls are because of the carrier? Oh wait, you don’t need a carrier for iMessage anymore.  There goes that problem.
          4. I do appreciated the intricacies of managing a data center but if the data centers you managed were offline for almost 48 hours, you would be out of a job.  RIM lost a lot of users because of this and rightfully so.  BB’s can still be hacked, you doofus.  It’s the data over BBM that is in the hands of the most secure technology.  it just sucks when it doesn’t work once a month. lol.
          5. Fair enough.  The only time I would type without looking would be when i’m driving.  And you really shouldn’t be texting and driving as it’s against the law.  I’d rather dictate and tell my assistant, SIRI what to do.  It’s far easier than typing without looking.  That is unless you find speaking and driving more difficult. lol.

          You’ll find that there’s a reason why BB users are declining by the day.  The average consumer can get more out of the iphone than a BB.  Simple as that.  You can’t argue with numbers!

          • noneya

            LOL.  Do we have nothing better to do?

            1. Okay.
            2. No, nothing special – I just close apps I’m not using.
            3. I drew this information from the “genius bar” and from iPhone users – granted this data is out. I think all carriers experience similar drops rates not matter the phone.
            4. Nah, there’s always someone to pass to buck to and share the blame.  And they weren’t down for 48 hours, they were just backed up.  My device was not affected.  I think it was just BIS and BBM traffic for select users.  Core network equipment can be manually failed over even when the failover device .. fails.  I doubt they lost any users to be honest.  You’re smart enough to know to not listen to the media’s speculation.  Those still holding on to their BB’s truly understand what RIM offers – do you really think the majority of IT guys are wrong?  Did you really say doofus?  you doofus.  This happens once a year if that (and always around the same time of year)
            5. I was actually thinking of when I type in bed and my girl is laying on my arm.  I have to do this reach around (lol) maneuver which is really challenging.

            People are sheep. You know this.  As soon as the next hotness drops, they will defect yet again.  Do you think all of the Android users are happy with the Google maps process repeatedly starting itself?  my fav are the Android errors:  andriod.activesync.sucks – obviously not a real error.

            I think we can agree to disagree at this point.   We both have valid points.  My original point is that this article is lacking actual facts and makes a lot of assumptions.  He asked for thoughts..

            Thanks for listening to me and letting me vent.

          • Guest

            fair enough.  i have no issues with BBM myself.  I almost switched over to be honest with you but there are technologies present in the iPhone that can be taken advantage of by average users that made it difficult to make the leap.  i think Apple is taking a chunk of RIM’s share but I also believe that The Android is taking a chunk of both so it’s all just heresay at this point. 

            It’s refreshing being able to post a comment and not get the usual insulting and fact-less responses. Good day to you my friend!

  • Aayush

    It’s a good writeup but before Apple expect this to spread like wildfire, they must introduce more economical handsets in the markets first to even dream of putting to bed the low cost BB curves etc.

  • Astonmarvinjb18

    Im a fan of imessage simply becuase Steve Jobs WAS the only genius i ever knew

  • RIM Bodoh!

    Stupid BB! Hang + bugs + expensive + BIS data = FAIL!!

  • avengine

    I am new to imessage, and I don’t have data plan, just the phone plan $15 for 50min plus $5 for unlimited text, with the wifi, I can do imessage all the time when you have wifi, if not you need to use some data on your 3g data plan. But for those in university or in the office with wifi, this is the best application for texting without pay any fee. BBM you have to pay for this service, but imessage is free. I can also send picture for free too. In this day, if I can save on phone cost is good.
    The only thing I want them to add is the way to add block for someone you don’t want to chat.

  • Zrizir

    you really fail , if ur perants are fails with using bbm then don’t think we all fail like them

  • Megzm

    Let’s face it! Blackberrys are just a better more advanced way of communicating and if you peeps can’t accept that then its your lost really. At the end of the day what’s the point of arguing of something so small. We each have our own opinions and approvals so let that be and carry on doing whatever we feel most comfortable and suited to.

  • WHAT THE FUCK

    WHO THE FUCK CARES GO SEND YOUR FUCKING TEXTS ON YOUR IPHONES AND BLACKBERRYS AND GET THE FUCK OVER IT! USE WHATEVER YOU WANT AND SHUT THE HELL UP< YOU PEOPLE ARE SOME DUMB MOTHERFUCKERS!!!

  • ReSean

    You’re an idiot, it’s BBM is always going to be better because it’s safer and more secure than iMessage, BBM isn’t hard to use at all, your parents are just dumb, and so are you for not just taking their phones and showing them what to do, iMessage is just like using facebook, it tells you when a message is read all that, but you can’t update your iMessage status, iMessage photo, etc. nor can you personalize it to really make it yours the way you can with BBM. Also, having a pin instead of being to just message someone is way better, safer and more secure and dependable, if the president had an iPhone and someone detected his iPhone and started iMessaging him, and it turned out to be a terrorist, then everyone is screwed so don’t boost iMessage to more than it actually is. It will never even compare to BBM.

  • CyberAly

    Wait, you put “only available on one brand of device” as a point against BBM, but the same is true of iMessage.

  • http://mail.com/ No 1

    What’s an iMessage address of a hot girl?

  • guest

    You’re an idiot. The Apple runs it own secure, global network and it runs for 10 years without crashing is the day you get to comment on how superior iPhone is in this respect. 
     
    Go ahead and make another comment. I enjoy people making a fool of themselves.

  • morgangeovane

    The point of brand is stupid, iMessage is only available to one BRAND. Apple.
     
    The other points were also very flimsy and highly opinionated. I’m using an iPhone and I can own up to iMessage being crap.