A while back I wrote about how Blackberry’s main weapon seems to be the BBM and how its loyal followers are using BBM to gain more owners for the Blackberry. In fact, when the British Riots happened a few days ago, the BBM was considered an important tool to gather people around by the rioters. There is an old saying in Kannada, translated it means “When a cat closes its eyes and drinks milk, it thinks no one is noticing”, well companies did notice and how. There is suddenly a huge interest in the messaging market from the big wigs. Here is some of the upcoming messaging apps for a smartphone near you.
Before we look at the Big Wigs, we have some attempts from the smaller companies to get into the messaging world, here are some. Well interestingly, it is surprising to know how many people have tried their hands at the messaging space.
Yes, the good old horse from Google that is based on the Jabber client, is available on the Android, the Blackberry as well as the iPhone as apps. However, this is the old form of communication when PC’s ruled the roost. Its a one to one communication and sending files, pictures and other features that modern Mobile Messengers have are just not there. However it uses your Google ID for Authentication and ID management. Yes it is convenient, and serves the basic purpose, but I don’t think it stands a chance against the likes of BBM. The old and faithful Yahoo Messenger and the Windows live messenger for mobiles are in the same category.
Meebo is integrated, all-in-one instant messaging (IM client) that connects you with your friends everywhere. It supports a large number of popular servicesand connects you to MSN, Yahoo, AOL/AIM, MySpace, Facebook, Google Talk, and many more! Meebo gives you the freedom to share. Whether you use Meebo here or on your favorite sites around the web, Meebo brings you and your friends together. Identity management is not really a question as they have a few identity management pieces. Available on the Blackberry, Android as well as iPhone and the web, this is a cool app for integrated chat and messaging.
Started as a cross platform messaging app, this app uses the phone numbers of the installed phone as its identity management and thus searches out other people using the app on their phones. With a host of features cloning the BBM, this seemed like an app that will take up the task of providing the challenge to BBM. From iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Nokia they definitely had the right idea. I have it both on my Blackberry and the Android, and I think its great.
eBuddy is a web and mobile messenger which supports various instant messaging services. Features include chat on Windows Live Messenger (also known as MSN), Yahoo! Messenger, AOL Instant Messenger, ICQ, Google Talk, MySpace Instant Messenger and Facebook Chat using one interface. eBuddy can also be accessed from mobile platforms such as mobile phones using Java, iPhone and Android. I remember when messengers were blocked, this was what I used to use online in the office a while ago, oops.
Trillian is a proprietary multiprotocol instant messaging application for Windows created by Cerulean Studios that can connect to multiple IM services, such as AIM, ICQ, Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, IRC, Novell GroupWise Messenger, Bonjour, Jabber, and Skype networks. Another App thats on iPhone, Android and Blackberry.
A growing list of messaging applications can be found here.
And now the Heavy weight Champions …
Yes the Big three, Google, Apple and Facebook are now beginning to look at this space, with their own products.
Better than a text introduction to this application should be the video launched by Google. Google not only released this app, but released it with Google Plus, this cos it will make use of the identity management that Google Profiles will use.
The main problem for Google Huddle project to be successful is that it is ties with Google Plus, we all know how Google Plus is slowly gaining ground. But people are not yet completely using it for their everyday usage, unlike how they use Facebook. This means that although there has been an initial push, Google Plus will take a lot of time to catch up with Facebook in terms of sheer users.
Add to this that Google Plus and Google Profiles are currently struggling to perform ideal identity management as a lot of users have more than one Google ID, like me. However, the idea is correct and having this solution cross platform will just make it more accessible and more used soon.
The iMessage is the attempt of Apple to get into the Messaging market to compete with the strong offering of BBM. Yet to be launched and announced as part of the iOS 5 update. The iMessage system is to join the SMS application and the messaging application as one. There could be a whole load of confusion with this but Apple wants to go ahead. iMessage is not just a bad attempt according to me, but also something that will ruin the messaging app as well. Using Apple ID or Phone number as the identity management (not yet known) this might be a boost for iPhone lovers to combat the BBM, but the fact is like all products you will be able to connect with people using iPhones.
This is a major disadvantage to the iMessage. There was this really bad instance of a friend trying to reply to emails thinking that they were SMS, especially when someone was asking for his mobile number. Notifications are something that are quite similar between the SMS and Emails and with messaging also looking fairly similar this will definately add confusion to the end user.
Facebook has just launched the Facebook Messenger. Facebook Messenger is a stand-alone app for iOS and Android. It essentially merges the Beluga product that Facebook acquired in February with their revamped Messages product. You can easily set up a group by typing in your friends’ names — contacts are drawn from both your Facebook friends list and your phone’s address book. Messages to Facebook friends are obviously sent via Facebook Messages, and messages sent to contacts who aren’t on Facebook are sent via SMS. And you can rename and attach a photo to group message threads. The goal here is to get more people using Facebook messages, and by putting your inbox one tap away, it’s going to do just that.
An ideal solution for identity management using beyond phone numbers and email addresses is using your Facebook connections and actual name look-ups — which Messenger obviously does. Or, if the person you’re trying to reach doesn’t use Facebook, or you’re not connected, you can use a phone number to connect. Yes, you could also do this through iMessage, but whereas Messenger will likely use SMS to bring users into the app, iMessage SMS connections are more likely to continue as SMS communications. While there are some differences between an iMessage and an SMS, they basically look the same, and again, reside in the same app.
Facebook Messenger will also clearly handle group messaging better than iMessage. Whereas iMessage seems like system to circumvent SMS — and for good reason, SMS remains one of the biggest rip-offs out there — Messenger feels like something that goes well beyond it.
Well for obvious reasons of being the proven and used solution, and being the benchmark for the rest, BBM is still number 1. I have a lot of faith in the Huddle + and the Facebook Messenger. Not so much the iMessage system. Like Apple has been doing the iMessage might be linked to the iOS operating system making it inaccessible to the rest of the community. Facebook Messenger will be successful as they have an identity management tool for the entire internet already in place, where iMessage will suffer heavily, and Google Plus obviously is trying to catch up.
Huddle, is something that for me is the dark horse, and not just cos its from Google who I support a lot. Although Google has Google Voice, Google Talk and other applications like them, it might just be the focus of entering the messaging space why they have launched the Huddle application standalone. With increased use of Google Plus, it will be clear that Huddle will too.