If you haven’t heard of the SMS/MMS replacement application WhatsApp, check it out here. But I’m sure RIM employees won’t be checking out WhatsApp. In fact, RIM did appear to like it at one time, but if you try downloading it from BB App World with a BlackBerry 7 OS device, you’re out of luck. Could it be that RIM sees WhatsApp as a threat to BB Messenger? Highly likely.
At the moment, WhatsApp supports iOS, Android, Symbian, and BlackBerry OS6, though OS7 support must be attained from the WhatsApp site. It’s a buck for iPhone users, and free for a year for Android and Symbian users. After a year, Android and Symbian users can purchase it for 2 bucks, but there’s no word on pricing for BlackBerry users. One thing’s for sure–RIM must not be too happy about any deterrents from BB Messenger, and that’s exactly what WhatsApp is. Oh well. The market is a battleground, so maybe BlackBerry will make BB Messenger cross platform and infuse more IM elements into its engine. Probably not.
If anything, this is an opportunity for RIM to bolster the strength of BB Messenger. WhatsApp is cross-platform and exhibits more IM qualities than traditional SMS/MMS. For instance, WhatsApp allows users to set statuses, take advantage of group chat, set stylish chat backgrounds, enable offline messages, and customize push notifications. In order to take advantage of the application, both users need to have WhatsApp installed on their respective devices in order to let the banter begin. Sure, BB Messenger is one of the best Messengers out there and is equipped with many of those features, but what about cross platform support? That’s the ticket for WhatsApp, and the Achilles heel for BlackBerry. It’s not like we didn’t see this coming, though. Eventually a third-party application developer was bound to step in and provide a program that would act like the skype of the messaging world.
What are you guys using for messaging applications? Has anyone tried WhatsApp and compared it to BB Messenger?