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WhatsApp vs BBM: What's hot, what's not!

Last updated on: November 01, 2013 21:03 IST

WhatsApp vs BBM: What's hot, what's not!

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Hitesh Motwani

Name any popular social media platform you can think of, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and others. All you could see were updates of people sharing their BBM pins. There were obvious jokes of why would one want BBM when we already have WhatsApp and replies of BBM lovers who though gave up their blackberries still miss the BBM chat experience.

Let's take a quick look at what is this that has the world in frenzy?

In recent past everybody has been seeing tons of BBM pins floating around FB, twitter and other popular social media platforms. Many have even made various jokes around it and everybody is asking a question as to why people are so much crazy about BBM when they have WhatsApp.

The substantial headstart that WhatsApp has over Blackberry's popular messenger service BBM is difficult to ignore. With the latter ultimately making the service available on Apple's iOS and Android-backed devices many might be wondering if BBM will manage to topple WhatsApp's leading position. After all, more than 10 million downloads within 24 hours of BBM being launched for non-BlackBerry handsets cannot be ignored.

We have done a quick comparison of few key features for WhatsApp and BBM.

Hitesh Motwani is a digital media enthusiast, gadget freak and steve job worshipper. Reach out to him at @wisdomsingh.

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WhatsApp vs BBM: What's hot, what's not!

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1. Setting up

WhatsApp creates an account on the basis of your phone number, while BBM uses alpha-numeric keys called pins.

WhatsApp is quick and easy, as there is no need to remember passwords while shifting to a new device. It just sends a verification SMS to your number and the app scans for it. It automatically tells your friends who are on WhatsApp that you are there too. The catch is you have to give out your phone number to add a new friend. Also you need to have a SIM card when switching devices to set up WhatsApp. This can be a pain if you are using a secondary phone or a temporary SIM.

BBM doesn't require you to input your number. But the downside is you have to start building up your BBM contact list from scratch unlike WhatsApp where the app scans for the contacts on your phone. But while switching devices, you can back up your contact list and restore it on a new device.

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Photographs: whatsapp.com
Tags: BBM , SIM , SMS

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2. Contacts

Adding a WhatsApp contact doesn't mean you need someone's phone number; you also need them saved in your device's address book. This means, you don't have a choice of who you want on your WhatsApp contact list.

To make up for that WhatsApp does have a full contact-blocking system in place, like BBM. But WhatsApp has a way to mark contacts as favourites for easy access -- a feature missing from BBM.

Adding contacts on BBM is a bit of a hassle, as you need to add alpha numeric keys called as pins, but that's not the only way to do it. You can also use barcode scanning or email invites.

Both services offer group chats to organise contacts.

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Photographs: blackberry.com
Tags: BBM

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WhatsApp vs BBM: What's hot, what's not!

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3. Chatting experience

The crux of both services is text messaging. Both provide typing and delivery receipts, though in different ways.

On WhatsApp, a tick mark next to your message means it has been delivered to the server while a second one means the sender has received it -- that doesn't necessarily mean the receiver has read it.

BBM, on the other hand, ticks off when your message is sent to the server, a 'D' mark when it is delivered to the receiver and an 'R' when the receiver has seen it making it more reliable.

WhatsApp on the other hand lets you know when the user was last online.

The emoticons, a popular feature in text chat, is another differentiation. WhatsApp has much more emoticons compared to BBM. But BBM offers a ping service which is not there on WhatsApp.

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Photographs: whatsapp.com
Tags: BBM

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4. Sharing

WhatsApp allows users to share pictures and video files, contacts and location while BBM allows users to swap any file type.

BBM also allows groups of people to share images so does WhatsApp. Group pictures on BBM have options of caption and comment.

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Photographs: blackberry.com
Tags: BBM

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5. Status and profile

Both BBM and WhatsApp have profile systems which support custom status messages and profile pictures. BBM gets additional brownie points for a busy icon option, and optional updates for what music you're listening to.

BBM profiles can also be linked to apps, providing functions like updating your status with your latest Foursquare check-in, tweet or Facebook status.

WhatsApp has an impressive selection of preset status messages, but that's about it.

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Photographs: whatsapp.com
Tags: BBM

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6. Groups

Both the messengers have ability to create group, where in group of people can join and chat together. But what matters the most is the sharing experience in these closed chat forums.

BBM takes an edge over here. It not only provides sharing of images and video but you can also share calendar invites and remember important dates with your friends. The reminder also gets automatically saved in your calendar.

On top of that you can also comment on pictures within group. I am sure WhatsApp will come up with something new in their new update and incorporate these features.

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Photographs: blackberry.com
Tags: BBM

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7. Last seen mystery/Visibility

One of the reasons why many people prefer BBM over WhatsApp is that it doesn't show your contact list when you were online for the last time. I am sure many users want a bit of privacy while chatting with their near ones (especially late night) and they wouldn't like to be seen online to users whom they want to ignore.

Due to this many people have questioned their partners, friends, family and led to a quarrel. Many users would like to keep their online time hidden. This is where BBM scores again since they don't mention time. But they mention whether you have read their response or no.

BBM privacy features win over the WhatsApp one.

BBM notifies you if your message has been delivered and read. WhatsApp only tell you the last time your friend was active online. That doesn't indicate if your message has been read. There are times when you would want to chat with your near and dear ones without letting the world know you are online.

That's where BBM scores again as your status can have an option of a busy icon. On WhatsApp if you are online, it is visible to everyone, many a times leading to quarrels with your loved ones.

To say who wins...

Both messengers have their own set of scoring features and a few flaws that these make up for. Most Blackberry users who transited to other devices and miss using the BBM service will surely love using this messenger.

The challenge with BBM is to convince users who are comfortable with other chatting services to move on to BBM services.

Only time will tell if BBM will pose a challenge to WhatsApp or will it fade away after the short euphoria.

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Photographs: whatsapp.com

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