The BBM app might have made a real impact if it had arrived a few years ago, but it's not very impressive in today's Android ecosystem. However, the app is currently sitting at a very respectable 4.2 stars in Google Play. Good for BlackBerry, right? Well, maybe not. Starting on the first page there is a strange pattern of mostly 5-star reviews with identical or very similar wording. Something is fishy.
For many moons, Android users were crying out for a unified messaging solution, and Blackberry Messenger seemed like a good solution. As Android was starting to take off in late 2009, BlackBerry (at the time RIM) was already feeling pressure from the iPhone, so why not branch out and get users hooked on BBM? Perhaps management was in denial as the co-CEOs actively dismissed the clear trends in mobile around that time.
After a number of delays and an untold number of fake spam apps, BBM for Android is about to really arrive in Google Play. This will mark the first time Blackberry's premier messaging service has been available on a non-Blackberry device. You'll be able to download the app today, but you might not be able to actually use it.
BBM was leaked a few weeks back and the flood of users caused all manner of server issues for the company.
Samsung claims that it has 100 million users of its proprietary ChatON messaging service. With that many eyeballs on your software, it makes sense to give it a little spit and polish, right? To that end they've release the 3.0 version of ChatON to the Play Store, complete with a fresh Holo interface and a few more options. Those of you with Samsung devices are probably getting the update anyway, but the cross-platform chat service is available to most Android devices.
There are many VoIP clients out there for Android, such as Skype and Viber. They save users from having to place calls over their cell network, potentially using up minutes that they may not have. This behavior eats into carriers' profits, so it's no surprise that they'd prefer if we avoided putting these apps on our phones. It's more surprising, though, to hear that one carrier has chosen to make one of these apps themselves.
BlackBerry announced last month that its beloved BlackBerry Messenger service would be coming to Android. Although, the company didn't offer a date when BBM would be available. Don't tell T-Mobile UK any of your secrets, because it just let it slip on Twitter that the big day is June 27th.
I don't have kids, so it's entirely possible I don't "get it." By "it" I mean this freaky robot teddy bear that sends and receives text messages because 2005 still had one more horror movie on its to-do list that it forgot to tell us about. That's what MessagePetz are. They're teddy bears that have a cold, black screen with bright blue LEDs shoved into their torsos.
Of course, maybe I'm being too hard on this thing.
Today, Google announced a new look for the Google+ stream. Gone is the weird, bubbly look that we've had for forever. The cards-centric UI that we've seen on phones and tablets is now coming to the desktop as well. You can select a one, two, or three-column layout and each individual card can flip over with a slick animation and provide more information and options.
Google's also improving its search and tagging functionality.
Today, both of Facebook's current apps have been updated to prepare for the arrival of Facebook Home. The main app merely added an extra permission that Home will eventually use. However, the real fun came to Messenger, which now has the ability to pop out Chat Heads, regardless of if you're using the replacement launcher.
As you may recall from the Facebook Home launch event, chat heads are little bubbles that float over whatever you're doing and allow you to jump straight into a conversation no matter where you are in the OS.