There is a lot of chatter on most social networks these days about the launch of BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) on iOS and Android. While it is true that the arrival of the launch is perhaps 3-4 years too late and might not be able to check the death spiral in which BlackBerry, erstwhile RIM, finds itself, that is no reason to not give the app a chance to succeed. After all, apart from the iconic keyboard of BlackBerry devices, BBM was perhaps the one feature most of us coveted when we were using feature phones or Nokia’s business phones such as E51, E71 and the like.
The mobile ecosystem, both Android and iOS, are full of apps that took inspiration from BBM and then created a new category in a couple of years’ time. Kik messenger, Whatsapp, LiveProfile were perhaps the early ones and now many more like WeChat, Line have joined the party. BBM is certainly not the best in terms of design or feature sets. Whatsapp, one which I extensively used before the launch by BlackBerry and continue to use, allows users to share videos and has a nicer design that gels with the OS look and feel. BBM has much catching up to do in terms of how much screen real state is allowed for conversations and how much is taken up by the onscreen keyboard. It’s design language too follows its own operating system BlackBerry 10 (BB 10) than Android or iOS. But does that mean that BBM offers nothing new or does nothing better than Whatsapp and others? In my opinion, that is not the case.
In my view, BlackBerry Messenger has certain advantages:
- BlackBerry’s security infrastructure is better than others. After all, it is the platform of choice for the US government.
- Whatsapp is tied to a phone number. You change your number and you need to reset Whatsapp. BBM PIN avoids this.
- It is easier to stalk someone on an app that uses just a phone number. Let’s say you took the number of a person from the office directory. Now you can see the status and profile picture without that person knowing it.
- If someone stops using his phone number and that number is assigned to someone else (let’s say an anti-social element), you are suddenly connected to him. If there is no display pic, you will not know and might message him in error. If police catches this guy and checks his phone, you may be in for questioning. I know this sounds far-fetched but is entirely possible. This doesn’t mean Whatsapp or similar apps are bad or BBM is better. Just that there are a few merits in the concept of using a PIN like BBM does.
Given these points, I believe it would be unfair to dismiss BBM simply because the company is losing mobile handset market share everywhere. As a messenger app, BBM is good enough to hold its own among the competition.
Image source: gizmodo.com
Apple announced two iPhone variants this year - iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S. And in another first, Apple’s stock went down for the first time after a new iPhone announcement.
In my opinion, markets, as often lamented, are irrational. Yes, the two iPhone variants are lackluster and lack much in terms of innovation, new features or enhanced capability. But Apple’s stock price should have gone down when they gave demo of iOS 7 a few months back.
From a hardware standpoint, the market and tech analysts thinks 5 inch or larger screen size is good and key to good sales. Some even want Apple to consider a phablet with 6-inch screen size. In my view, this is simply incorrect. While phones with a screen larger than 5-inch may appeal to some customers, it’s not the soft spot for all of the smartphone market. Apple’s hardware is pretty close to perfect, therefore they should focus on innovation on the software side which even with a ‘close to flat’ design in iOS 7 lacks many of the multi-tasking, file browsing and customization features offered by Android.
iOS is already a more safe platform compared to the malware-ridden Android. Now only if the OS becomes more capable to match Android in terms of features and functionalities, Apple would have the best of both hardware and software worlds once again.
Not all is, however, lost. In terms of wearable technology, Samsung Gear has been unimpressive. So Apple has a chance to take that market by storm if they launch their ‘iWatch’ with good hardware that retails for around $150-$200 and possesses a week’s battery life.
With the Indian Rupee in free fall due to bad fiscal management and poor economic decisions like the Food Security Bill (FSB) taken by Congress led UPA govt in India, I wrote these lines to describe the mess:
FSB लाके कांग्रेस ने भरी चुनावी हुँकार
लुड़कते रूपये में मचा और भी हाहाकार
कांग्रेसियों की सोच में ही हैं िवकार
सोने की चिड़िया बेच दी भरे बाज़ार
(The lines above are my creation and I assert my moral right to be identified as the author of this work)
There’s no law against dreaming!
Could this be the next concept car from Maruti Suzuki? Hope not.
Apart from the latch that caught your eye, also notice the playboy stickers on the windows
We live in a world where privacy is a big issue. From what we search to the data we share on social networks to the places we visit, there is always a concern regarding the potential misuse of that data.
In this background, I find it a little weird that the use of Social Reading apps on Facebook is growing and hardly anyone is bothered about that information being visible to all. Social Reading apps like the one prepared by Washington Post (and many others) let users read articles within Facebook and what they read is immediately shared with their contacts on the social network. Dailymotion has launched a similar app that lets you watch videos within Facebook. The image below has been prepared by combining a few screenshots from Facebook’s iPhone App.
Of course there are ways to prevent this sharing but the very idea behind these apps is instant sharing, something that Facebook calls ‘Friction less sharing’. I don’t use these apps for this very reason. As the image above shows, it is not a very good idea to let your friends know what you are reading or watching.
Strangely, people don’t seem to be bothered. And that is good news for Facebook which obviously benefits from availability of more and more of user data in public domain.