Blackberry Messenger on Android Review

BBM on Android
BBM on Android

Let’s cut to the chase: it’s YAMA!

That’s right, I said YAMA!!! Yet Another Messenger App.

I know the Fan-berries are going to get their panties in a knot because I didn’t say that it’s revolutionary or something like that. But it’s not. In fact it looks indistinguishable from Google+ Hangouts, or Twitter DM’s, or any other messenger on my phone!

Don’t tell me “but BBM is secure!” Because so is Hangouts! Even Twitter is secure!!!

Forget the tired delivered and read indicators argument in favour of BBM. Back when the carriers were experimenting with data networks and connectivity was minimal this was a comforting feature. But now that I’m pumping data through my mobile phone faster than my DSL modem I think connectivity is taken for granted. And really, I don’t care if you read my message, I care if you acted on it! If I say “meet me at Starbucks in 10 minutes” then you can read that message all you want but if you’re late you’re triple-caramel-pumpkin-spice-skinny-latte-machiato is going to get cold and I’m not buying you another one!!!

Let’s look at the numbers for some messengers that work on Blackberry, Android and iOS:

  • WhatsApp has over 325 million active users 
  • Viber has over 200 million active users
  • Google+ Hangouts (not available on Blackberry) has over 100 million active users (an estimate based on the over 400 million active Google+ users)
  • Facebook Messenger probably has just under 100 million active users (they don’t reveal those numbers so it’s just an estimate)
  • Kik has over 80 million active users – which is ironic since the founders originally worked for Blackberry

BBM clocks in somewhere around the 55 million mark. So you’re more likely to find your friends using something other than BBM.

And don’t forget the grand-daddy of them all: SMS!!! Venerable old text messages, they reach not just smart phones, but feature phones too. And with software like MightyText and iMessage they reach tablets and computers as well! In fact there are BILLIONS of active monthly SMS users! And there’s nothing to install or configure, it just works out of the box!

In my humble opinion, BBM was something that made Blackberry unique, something they could distinguish themselves with. Something for people to say “I want BBM” and they’d have to get a Blackberry to get it.

The reason for having a Blackberry is now limited to inertia on the enterprise side; and nostalgia or pride on the consumer side. Releasing BBM for Android (and iPhone) really just serves to prolong the inertia since IT departments can now re-assure their remaining Blackberry users that they’ll be able to communicate with all their iPhone or Galaxy toting colleagues using BBM.

I sure hope those people interested in buying Blackberry have a better business plan than relying on the inertia of existing customers to carry them forward!

Cross-posted on 2FatDads

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The Google Chromebook Sells Out!

Google’s latest iteration of ChromeOS hardware has very impressively sold-out almost as soon as it went on sale.

The new hardware is attractive for a number of reasons: it’s thin, it’s light, it features a lot of the latest technology like Bluetooth 3.0, USB 3, and dual-antenna a/b/g/n wi-fi (and we know there’s a mobile-wireless version coming soon too).

The coolest feature though is that it does not run on an Intel processor, but rather the Samsung Exynos 5 – an ARM A-15 processor like the kind found in smartphones and tablets! The A-15 is the latest iteration of the ARM design; and the Exynos 5 is a powerful chip with minimal power consumption – so no fans and longer battery life on a thinner, lighter battery.

About 90% of what I do my computers is web-based, such as e-mail, news, blogging, and even working with documents and spreadsheets on Google Drive. So a Chromebook would fill just about all my requirements. The only thing I’d be scared to try is managing my photo & video library or touching up my photos. There’s certainly no reason why a Chromebook couldn’t handle that and software like Aviary proves it possible but I think it will be awhile before we see digiKam ported to a Chrome App and there’s a truly comparable option.

What I can’t wrap my head-around though is why?! I have nothing against ARM-based computers or living my life on-line. But what I don’t understand is why we need another platform? At this point Android is a viable option for a netbook operating system. Chrome (the browser at the heart of ChromeOS) even runs on Android. An Asus Transformer is basically a Netbook running Android. Any Android tablet matched up with a Bluetooth keyboard is basically a netbook.

Even Microsoft with the launch of their Surface tablet and it’s choice of keyboard covers has basically said the netbook market was killed by the tablet market!

I’ve said this before, and I’ll keep repeating it as long as I have to: WE DON’T NEED ANOTHER PLATFORM!

Apple offers developers the burden of iOS and OS X. Google offers the burden of Android and Chrome. Microsoft offers the burden of Windows (in it’s many iterations) and Windows 8 new paradigm and Windows RT (all of which multiplied by the burden of traditional libraries or newer .NET libraries). And then of course there’s the waffling RIM that burdens us with the old Blackberry and the promise of BB10; and a flurry of other platforms like Firefox OS, Sailfish, and Tizen.

It’s not surprising that RIM and Microsoft are having trouble attracting developers to their app stores – developers are all sick and tired having new platforms dropped on them like a ton of bricks and being told “if it doesn’t succeed it’s your fault because you didn’t write any killer apps for it!

So why didn’t Google put Android on this hardware and call it a Nexus NB (for netbook) or Nexus K (for keyboard) or Nexus RT (for Kiss-our-ass-Microsoft)?

As a Chromebook my only interest in purchasing one would be to wipe-out ChromeOS and install ARMedSlack. If it was running Android though I’d be perfectly happy to leave it as is!

Cross-posted on 2FatDads

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X-treme Luge

So not only did three geeks take their kids sledding, but when we got home we pulled out the beers and the mac book and put together this little video. iMovie was sweet but what about Microsoft Movie Maker? Well for one thing, it can’t read video files from a Blackberry (3GP format, which Quick Time reads natively – Firefox on a PC uses the QT plugin to play them). So this is what I came up with on my ThinkPad.

At least I remembered to add some credits!