SMS texting isn’t dead yet, but it appears that it’s slowly going that way. BlackBerry, the folks you once knew as Research in Motion (RIM), recently announced plans to bring BlackBerry Messenger to iOS and Android. Yet another alternative to traditional SMS. Furthermore, if done right, it can make for a great alternative to iMessage.
What is BBM?
BlackBerry Messenger is BlackBerry’s service for sending text messages to other BlackBerry users. Doing so means that they do not incur normal texting charges (though you can argue that most plans offer unlimited texting.). That said, if someone does not have an unlimited texting plan, this is a nice alternative. It’s coming this summer to iOS and Android as a free application.
How About iMessage?
Apple has its own app for text messages called iMessage. Anyone with an iOS device has probably used this. The problem with it is that it’s limited to users of Apple devices, such as Mac, iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. It’s great if you’re talking to other iPhone users, because you can message them from any of the aforementioned devices. While popular, that still cuts down on lots of potential contacts. iMessage will send texts as regular SMS, but this means that you must send someone a message from your iPhone.
In the past, at least in my experience, iMessage has proven to be a bit unreliable at times. It’s not horrible, but I’d say it works about 85-90 percent of the time with other iMessage users. SMS is just fine, but I sometimes find myself having to resend unsent messages to other iOS users. It’s not a high failure rate, but even that 10-15 percent failure rate can get annoying after a year or two of use.
The obvious benefit here is that you can send messages to friends regardless of whether they are on iOS, Android or BlackBerry. This is something you don’t get with iMessage. We like that. It’s great to have more texting options.
Will Users Adopt it?
The downside is pretty apparent for anyone used to the app ecosystem. It’s the fact that BBM must catch on with users. The app can sit there for a while, and most people will probably still find it more convenient to just use iMessage. In all honesty, I’m sure I probably will. I may download BBM and try it out. Shortly after, I may forget about that. It will have to offer things that iMessage does not. Perhaps the reliability, or something that can truly pull users over and make them download and stay with the app to become their preferred messaging service.