Kik vs Blackberry Messenger – Is it a BBM killer? Why the BBM Loyalty? Can Kik keep up?
Kik Messenger is a mobile IM app that allows free text messages on your phone. It is much like the beloved Blackberry Messenger (BBM) that many blackberry users cannot live without. In fact the creator of Kik is a former Blackberry Employee. While many agree that Kik is a great SMS alternative, there has been no verdict on whether it should be called the BBM Killer or replacement.
This past week (November 6th) Kik announced that it reached 1 million users. This is pretty amazing considering it relaunched the messenger client 15 days prior. While this rapid growth shows Kik’s promise and potential to become a favorite app among smartphone users some questions still remain unanswered. Will Kik be able to make Blackberry lovers breakup with BBM? This is no simple task, if any of you have friends that are ‘Crackberry’ fanatics you know how they react if you think of negatively referencing Blackberry. While this article compares Kik to BBM, we must understand that Blackberry users are severely loyal. I for one still have somewhat trouble understanding, though I have never owned a Blackberry.
What is with the Blackberry/BBM Colt?:
While Kik usage is growing by leaps and bounds, no one can deny the love that users have for Blackberry & BBM. I have the Android based Evo 4G. Besides battery life, I am convinced it is the best phone available in the US. Personally, I am 6’5 and a former college basketball player. One of my thumbs literally takes up 60-70% of a Blackberry keyboard. Sometimes I feel like I can hardly use an iPhone. Lol. So using a blackberry is physically uncomfortable for me. But in an unbiased opinion (um…I think its unbiased), the OS and platform is just inferior to iPhone and Android. I just do not understand why BB users are so in love with their devices and especially BBM. But I cannot deny it amazes me how many people I see swear by BBM. I am 24 and the majority of my friends act like I’m a fool for adoring my Evo 4G. I can argue that the phone is better. But I never have much to say when they bring up BBM. Because I have never tried it I don’t know what to say or argue. All I can tell you is the only other instances I’ve seen people love something so strongly is back in the day AOL instant messenger & Facebook 3 or 4 years ago.
Reasons I am told my friends love BBM:
- BBM is like an exclusive club. A club that is cooler than the AIM, Gtalk, etc. clubs. Some of my friends act like I and others in our group don’t exist because we can’t communicate through BBM. I am only half joking. Lol.
- Quickness – They say it is so quick and easy to message someone over BBM. Open it and *BOOM* message can be sent. No lag like other IM clients
- Broadcast Messages & Group Chat – You are not limited to just messaging one person. You can send a quick message out to all with ease.
- Emotion icons -Everyone just loves them. On Facebook & Twitter I always see statuses then in parenthesis (*BBM Face).
- No Text Limit – can write as long of a message as you want without worrying about character limits.
- Can send pics and files to someone quickly
- Doesn’t require sign up
- BBM has delivery & read notifications. You don’t have to worry about whether or not your message was received.
- Can scan BBM pin’s through QR barcodes.
- You can have statuses for everyone to view.
- Its Just Faster-I was told its plays a major factor that BBM comes with Blackberry phones and there is no need to install it. For this reason it is just much quicker than other apps. They say doing anything on BBM is just effortless compared to other apps & clients.
- Final Reason-All the reasons its used on top of it just being available without having to go out of your way makes them love it. Or so they say.
Sidebar: I will agree that these are all valid reasons to love using BBM. However, don’t most other IM clients have many of these features (give or take a feature or two) besides being exclusive for certain devices? I haven’t even begun to mention Kik’s features yet. LOL this is not a boycott or bash BBM post, I am honestly just trying to understand, because I haven’t and cannot use BBM. I am just going by what I have been told.
With that said Kik now has come into the picture. While I am unfamiliar with Blackberry, I tried Kik this week and have gotten a good feel for the program. The general idea behind Kik is that it is cross platform and not limited to just BBM. Many are calling it a BBM for Android or BBM for iPhone. I’ve even saw a reference on Twitter, “The New BBM for Blackberry”. From what I know about Blackberry Messenger, I would have to agree. Being one of the newer mobile IM clients it is missing some features that BBM has, but it has great potential. I am sure Kik is working extremely hard to add many new features to it’s arsenal. There are a few big questions that have been making way around the net. Are its current features enough to sustain popularity and growth? Can Kik add features before users get bored? Does Kik have what it takes to be a BBM replacement (BBM Killer)? Will users switch over and use Kik as their main way to mobile IM?
Kik Messenger Features:
- Available on Blackberry, iPhone, iPod Touch and Android. As it grows it should move onto other platforms.
- Automatically Connects All Phone Contacts – This was quite interesting to me. I was very happy that I did not have to manually add anyone. It took everyone from my phonebook, email contacts, and I think even Facebook contacts. All my contacts that are using Kik were sent a message letting them know I now was using the program. It also sent me messages letting me know who in my contacts had Kik. Everytime a new Kik member uses the program for the first time and they one of my contacts, I am notified…Very convenient.
- No character limit
- Uses Screen names Not Pins – This is much easier to remember when adding contacts
- Contact Backups? – I always see FB & Twitter statuses of people requesting everyone’s BBM. Talking about how their contacts were erased. If Kin can get rid of this then this is a major plus. (I probably should have researched it and tested it out, but did not want to take the chance. Sorry readers.)
- Message sent, delivered, and read notifications – A loved BBM feature.
- Can Switch Platforms – If you prefer Kik over BBM, then you are not restricted to only Blackberry devices. You can freely switch from a Blackberry to an iPhone, back to a Blackberry, then to Android. I can’t tell you how many friends I know would like to test out other kinds of phones but don’t want to leave because of BBM. If they move to Kik that is not a problem.
- Catch Up With Old Friends – by automatically adding my contacts and notifying me they were on Kik I had 3 conversations with people that I haven’t spoken to in years. I enjoyed this. This may have more to do with me having a limited list of contacts and being reminded of each other than anything else. But it was still nice.
- *If I have missed any features, please let me know below in the comments and I will add them.
When comparing these features it really is too early to tell if Kik will be able to takeover and surpass Blackberry Messenger. Only time will tell. Judging from this past week, it sure has the potential to do so. Everyday 4 or 5 more people are added to my Kik list. What is the reason for this huge Kik trend? There are two main reasons for the growth. Non blackberry owners are ecstatic to be able to have a BBM type program (I know that’s why I signed up), and BBM’ers are happy to be able to communicate with those outside of the Blackberry kingdom. It’s ironic, but I found about Kik from BBM users. I know I am looking year down the line. But if Kik does end up being a BBM replacement, would Blackberry ever consider giving access to BBM for Android, iPhone, or any other platforms? Not very likely, but an interesting thought (if I do say so myself)…
What are your thoughts? Is Kik just a waste of time? Is it something that will be used and loved 3 or 4 years from now? Have your friends riding the Kik wave? How long until BBM should be worried?
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