As BBM prepares to go cross-platform, WhatsApp rolls out voice-messaging

By Bla1ze on 6 Aug 2013 07:16 pm EDT

While BlackBerry is making some headlines with the news of BBM coming to Android and iOS, the other players in the instant messaging market aren't slowing down their pace either. In fact, one could get away with saying they're ramping up their efforts in a seemingly appropriately timed manner.

Such is the case with WhatsApp, who has now started to roll out voice-messaging on iPhone, BlackBerry, Android and Windows Phone. According to our friends over at WPCentral, the addition of voice messaging doesn't require an app update as it all appears to be done server side but for now, the options are showing on a small number of devices. 

From the look and sound of it, the voice-messaging doesn't appear to be as robust as say BBM Voice but more along the lines of sending a voice note through BBM but in a push-to-talk fashion like Voxer.

When users enter into a chat with a contact, to the left of the text window a microphone icon should now be present. Users can simply press and hold that icon to record a voice clip which is then sent instantly to the contact.

We've not noticed anything different with the BlackBerry 10 version as of yet among those of us who have WhatsApp installed but like all things, it could just take a while for it to roll out. In any case, it's great to see WhatsApp improving their app by offering new options but I'm left wondering if this is something that BBM will also introduce in the future, much like how Chris pondered it before me.

Technically, it's kind of already there by way of voice notes but that option is hidden behind quite a few menus and usability is a key factor for people. If you hide something behind menus, no one is going to think to use it or care to look for it whereas if you put something to the forefront, more people will see it, try it out and ultimately end up using it more regularly.

Topics: BBM WhatsApp Apps

Reader comments

As BBM prepares to go cross-platform, WhatsApp rolls out voice-messaging


apparently its never late to be in 2006 just like releasing bb10 late :). anywho bbm is still free compared to whatsapp

Posted via CB10

Whatsapp has always had this feature! They just made a new shortcut button for it, no big deal!

Posted via CB10

Bla1ze made this clear in talking about the simpler user experience.

People who think this is just voice notes don't get the value of a super simple UI, and likely aren't knowledgeable about PTT networks like Nextel.

This is a wicked feature and one BBM needs to deliver. With group support.

Posted via CB10

But this isn't PTT. It's a simpler voice note process. The voice message isn't played automatically once received (like PTT). The recipient still needs to press Play. The UI update just made voice notes a two-click process (one to start recording, one to stop recording and send). Nextel was more like a walkie-talkie setup, and this isn't anything like that.

The only thing that makes this one-up BBM's voice note feature is accessibility. If BlackBerry made voice notes a main menu feature, started recording immediately, and sent as soon as you stopped recording, it would work just like the WhatsApp update.

I'm glad you pointed this out because the way people talk about PTT on this site, I am reminded of how it was in the Nextel days - ANNOYING. Now, it makes me wonder.. WTF IS ALL THE HYPE ABOUT? If it's just voice notes, so what? The way you describe it, it sounds like direct to phone voicemail, not a REAL push to talk experience.

If it's not real PTT, then all these articles pushing PTT have been nothing less than a waste of everyone's time.

Hey Kev,

Apparently on the BlackBerry Q10, I'm guessing only on this phone since it is the only one with a physical keyboard; they have added the feature that you don't have to click and hold the microphone icon, but you can click and hold the spacebar on the keyboard and it will do the same function.

Just thought I'd let you know I just found it =D

Posted via CB10

LMAO not much of one, nor even a solid rope-a-dope on Whatsapp's part. They add a feature that every phone can do over MMS since 1996, with no advantage of using data at all. In fact with MMS the data used does not come out of your monthly allotment for many countries (in the 10's)!

Pathetic move WhatsApp. Let's hope BlackBerry is ready to really show off all the powerful features BBM will offer out the gate.

Posted via CB10

This could have been in WhatsApp's plans before BBM X was announced. At any rate, hopefully it makes both parties step up their games.

I remember right before BlackBerry Live (May 2013) they said new features were coming

Posted via CB10 on my Rogers LTE MAX Q10 and LTE Z10 in Toronto

Cat and mouse. It will never end. In a way, it's great. Hope BlackBerry can always stay one step ahead in this category

Posted via CB10

Except they haven't delayed BBM for other platforms yet? I think they are delivering just fine now if we exclude the oh so speedy Verizon, AT&T, and to a lesser extent T-Mobile.

Posted via CB10

BlackBerry should just buy what's app, think of the users, they can add security and they would get windows phone app to boot

Via CB10

Waste of money. They have a massive amount of users waiting for cross platform BBM.

As for the WP app, just build one it would be much cheaper

Posted via CB10

Totally agree! WhatsApp just doesn't have the feel like BBM does. The only reason why ppl use it like myself bec there's no other cross platform messaging app to use. Guarantee BBM will succeed as the leader as the cross platform messaging app! The fact Samsung is promoting it in their app store and integrating it into their hub is huge!!!! More attention for BBM.

Posted via CB10

BBM will kill it on voice quality. BB has their own network and if they want they can prioritize voice packets (SIP/VOIP) over other packets of data. They could choose to use compression based on traffic and bandwidth or whatever they want.

Will we be able to video chat thru BBM Across other platforms ?

Posted via CB10. BlackBerry ®  Z10

Yes. I have a friend at Samsung and it does work we like it was on BlackBerry. Smooth and no lag or glitches

Zed 10 - In your face VZW

Just to be clear, yes, when it's BBM calling BBM. Highly unlikely you will be able to go BBM calling Skype, for example.

...but how cool would THAT be? *wish*

Please. Voice messaging. Lame! That's petty stuff compared to screen sharing. :P

Posted via Crackberry Z10

They knew they had to step up their game! Once Bbm hits the market it's taken it by storm, and Bbm just gettin warm! Can't wait!

Flick txt on my sick Z10!

Posted via CB10


It's all about the implementation of BBM on these platforms. We don't know how well it will work and what features it will even have (for free).

I have got rhat microphone on left side of the chat window in my whatsapp app! But this is lame hah!

C0001799F sub to my channel! Posted via CB10

Still not close to the level BBM is! BBM will win this war and come out as the preferred cross platform messaging app to use.

Posted via CB10

There have been rumors of a desktop client for BBM. And seriously... The only thing preventing that from getting to us is BlackBerry not making the decision to make BBM for Desktop.

I get the feeling that the entire re-vamp of BBRY is happening and it will be successful. BBRY will not die as people like to discuss. However the level of success that BBRY will have in its rebuild remains to be seen. I do believe that BBRY has far too much intellectual property to just fade away. BBM truly has the potential to top the messaging platforms. Can anyone comment on how far away BBM would be from land line calls and voice message like Skype offers.

Posted via CB10

It's all about timing! And BlackBerry has done a terrible job by not releasing on time and not meeting their own dates!. Take BBM for example, going cross platform in the summer, they have to explain summer somewhere in the planet last until September! Just trying not to blew this one too.
Hope they start to rise again and finally take real care of us the users. More and better apps!, solve the carriers problems with updates, give us back bridge!

Posted via CB10

BlackBerry needs to hurry up. With this and the recent release of Peem theyre making it harder for themselves

Posted via CB10

Dunno about Peem, but there is NOTHING new with this update to Whatsapp. It's just a shortcut to a feature that was already there.

Yes, but it's a very cool idea that hasn't been done before in a messaging system. BlackBerry could replicate that feature on BBM easily and should do it.

Both have more than 300 Million active users, wechat is more popular in china whereas as whatsapp has more international users spread over many countries.

Won't catch on, as soon as people realize there's more to do on BBM over whatsapp and notice that it's more fluid than whatsapp they will jump ship for sure (fingers crossed) but I doubt that anyone else (messaging app) will put as much work into their app as BlackBerry has.

That's my take on this so called update...which really is more of a step back than forward.

Posted via CB10

"In fact, one could get away with saying they're ramping up their efforts in a seemingly appropriately timed manner."

Well played Bla1ze

Posted via CB10

Well played indeed.

Too bad it won't dim down the excitement of cross-platform BBM.
However I feel as though BB has done that for them self by announcing it too far in advance.

Wow I just read that article Cookgoose posted and I've gotta admit walkie talkie style messaging sounds like a pretty cool feature. BBM needs to incorporate this, fast! Much cooler than making a phone call through BBM. BlackBerry can add this feature. Do It!

This is a great addition and I hope BBM gets something like it soon. I know my mom and her sisters love doing push-to-talk voice messages in their group chat over typing.

How about this for steroids : BBM Super Chat : to be able to give you a text chat followed by a voice note then attach a file/document or a contact info in one swift flow send response or follow that up with keeping the BBM chat open so I can go to my browser surf à website and/or social feed and then be able to share it to my open BBM chat that I have created with a text, voice note,and attached file then Send it ! Then follow that up with a BBM Voice or Video call to the person or group I sent this to ! I have not even mentioned BBM Money $$$$

Posted via CB10

Never tried the function. But now you got me curious: how the heck DO you make voice notes on BB10 outside of the Remember app?
I thought it might be part of the Voice control app, but I can only get that to take text-notes.

And if you can not record notes from -within- apps, this push+send option for Whatsapp sounds like something that should have been there al along. (like sharing pics/vid straight from the camera app).

Ah, I see. Good thing it does work for BBM. But I still think it's too bad there is no dedicated voice recording option, there is one on the PB.
Good to see other developers creating more function integrations on their own.

If you're on the Z10 hide the keyboard, attach(paperclip),voice note, record, stop, send, done.

On the Q, skip the first step.

Sent from the future on my QNX® powered BlackBerry® Z10

Please...BBM on BB6 is better than whats app now in my opinion and once it's cross platform and has the ability to video and voice it's over

Posted via CB10

Icon appeared today for me as well haven't had opportunity to use it yet though.

Posted via CB10

Ummm I believe this is NOT new info. Sending a recording has been out for certain android phones for a long time. Unless you are talking about full on voice calling for whatsapp and not sending a recording

U know u like the push to talk feature that way ur not tied into a coversation which is why I will be sticking to wechat

Posted via Z10

I noticed the icon today...

What's app simply doesn't have a chance against the creators of instant messaging on mobile..

It'll be over for what's app in 12 months


Whatsapp and wechat have more than 300 million active users, bbm has 60 million active at max and that too it will be limited to just ios and android whereas whatsapp and wechat are on ios, android, windows phone, symbian and even Nokia Asha S40.

There is a higher probability of Blackberry going down in 12 months than bbm overtaking whatsapp and wechat.

This information is practically irrelevant now for WhatsApp. Won't aggregate nothing on a short period of imminent bbm cross platform. At least can't mess bbm launch.

Posted via CB10

Too little, too late. Sorry WhatsApp. BBM will be taking its crown back now.

Signed via my weapon of choice, Z10.

It's showing up on my Z10 on steroids version 10.2. However, all I get from it is unable to start recording.

WhatsApp just keep getting better and better ... side-loads I don't know anyone using BBM on this days.

Still can't get over that pic for the article! good stuff...

Whatsapp is a good app, no need to say more when it was the number one app in BBworld in the legacy OS days... It's improving and that's a good sign. It will keep the competition (BBM crossplatform app) on its toes! Once the BBM app is good, people will consider it. Real test would be if Android users will download it to chat with their iOS buddies! I just don't like the privacy associated with whatsapp...

Agree! WhatsApp privacy sucks! I just deleted the app because of the people of my list that I didn't want to chat. Using only Facebook and Twitter till bbm go cross!

Posted via CB10

I've been sending voice notes through whatsapp for years

I don't drink anymore........ or any less, double scotch please

Agreed. The Voice Note function has been around for whatsapp for quite some time. Maybe they changed the UI somehow but the function has always been there for Whatsapp.

Posted via CB10

I would consider its very different to voice note.
1. No time limit/length of message
2. Unread/Read voice message icon
3. Ability to view if someone is voice/recording in real time similar " is typing a message


BB just drop a walkie talkie capability and watch that be a fan favourite amongst security,nurses,doctors,stock floor walkers.

I love BBM on my silver custom painted Z10. now my wife BBMing on Android awesome. whatsup doesn't compare.

Posted via CB10

I admire how BB fans think that people are going to switch from whatsapp to BBM just cause you are a BB fan. Look at it from my perspective (and approx. 99% of whatsapp users), why should I change from a good IM client to another such as BBM? Whatsapp does what its supposed to do quite well and thats the main reason people are using it. There are other IM clients available crossplatform but people keep choosing whatsapp. Unless BBM does something new (cant imagine what) no one except BB fans will change apps. This is one reason BB keeps failing at all their projects. They have a small base of BB crackheads who they listen to and think that people jump ship cause its BB. Do you think that all the other companies are just going to sit there and wait for someone to take their clients???

WhatsApp who?!

Don't be scare be very AFRAID!!

The future for messenger services is near #BBMCrossPlatform

#BB10Believe #BlackBerryNation #BB10Army #BB10Freak #KeepMoving #TeamBlackberry

I'm MongezaurioBerry

And to all my friends and family as soon as BBM is available for all WhatsApp is going to the trash can!!

Want to keep in touch #BBMCrossPlatform is the only way!!

#BB10Believe #BlackBerryNation #BB10Army #BB10Freak #TeamBlackberry #KeepMoving

I'm MongezaurioBerry

It is good for level playing players to start this sort of healthy competition. It will make BlackBerry also keep an eye to make better products and services. BlackBerry 10 is a product which rolled out to match or exceed competition and let the "games" begin! May the best win. But then those who come second and third are still winners!

Posted via CB10

bbm.. once a glass is broken it can never be the same.. u guys changed bbm totally u removed the small features that mattered most u were very accurate and critical.. old bbm is better than this new shit one..

i bought this phone the same day it was released and untill now bbm is shit no good updates.. who said we want bbm voice or video fuck that we have skype n viber.. we just want a decent bbm like it was before..

wtf cant ping more than three times? pings dont vibrate what the hell r they used for then ffs? dp resolustion changes to shit.. sending pics of 7 kb? not every message shows what time it was sent all combined in one box? ahhhh theres alot and alot i could go on forever.. if u wont fix these things before goin cross platform then please dont.. the only reason i bought this phone is because of my love for bbm dont take that away from me i still have hope in u motherfuckers u kept us waiting for so long

Posted via CB10

Just tried this voice function, it's acceptable in my opinion. Adds a new wrinkle to Whatsapp, which is ok by me... nice one touch functionality and no time limit on length. I still see bbm as a sleeker, more functional platform.

Posted via CB10

Lol I just noticed this on there 10 minutes ago I thought maybe I was just drunk and it was always there since there was no update. Sneaky whatsapp and there server side updates.

Posted via the Batcave

I see the microphone now on whatsapp on my z10. Successfully delivered a voice message to a buddy on an Android device.

Posted via CB10

Think you all might find this interesting.

While the actual usage/subscriber figures could be somewhat inflated, market penetration in Brunei + HK are likely true for the most part. While I don't disagree that BBM will always be a far superior IM app, for speed, security and all else that's inherent in it's tight kernel, one can't argue that there's a LOT of catching up to do, b/c RIM dropped the cross-platform ball, BADLY.

autocorrect's for the birds -- SQN100-2. V10.1.0.4687

This is EXACTLY why you don't announce BBM 3 to 4 months before you're actually going to roll it out cross-platform. They should have held onto it until it was ready to go!!!!!!

This is the biggest problem with BB which I have always mentioned @ Crackberry. They make a big splash announcement (here opening BBM to IOS and Android) and then take forever to launch it. Why the hell do you want your competitors get such a long time for them to update their own platforms and make them ready before hand for the upcoming competition. Rather you should announce it and launch it within a week that would make likes of Wastapp, Viber shit in their pants. BB you are worst when it comes to timing of launch and your marketing strategy. BB has a combination of decent hardware+software but worst timing and marketing.

So how would bbry go cross platform by secret? I think the two small.companies called apple and Samsung would know amongst countless others developing and would be as secret as a high school party location.

Posted via CB10

Calling it a fight is a ridiculous statement. There is absolutely no fight whatsoever. Bbm is light years ahead on all fronts ( besides the address book auto add but that's on purpose left out of the bbm ).

Its like comparing an Aston Martin to a BMW. BMW is a great car but it will never ever become an Aston Martin. Not the perfect example but you know what I mean ;)
Whatsapp will do the job and it has been good until the dinosaurs at waterloo woke it's game over for them. for the most part at least.

Posted via CB10

It seems to me Whatsapp is nervous about BBM going cross platform. I've used both and BBM ks IMO the better choice.

BBM needs voice chat similar to Voxer + video chat in addition to what we already have. Throw some money at this, Heins.

Posted via CB10

What'sApp suuuuuucccckkkkksssssss. And yes... speaking from experience.... What'sApp Is for people who don't know about BBM

BBM should have video message. When no one answers their video chat you can leave a message and same with voice.

What do you think?

DJ Dennis

I could see this happening. After all, BBM already has voice notes. It wouldn't be that much of a stretch to add video notes. Skype recently added video messages, so there is a trend for this feature.

Dear BlackBerry

This is a bad move. A lot of people will not make the switch to BlackBerry if bbm becomes available across all platforms. That's your alas. That is one of your prized apps. I'm not saying that all will stop using BlackBerry as a lot still use BlackBerry for other reasons, but a huge chunk of your userbase uses BlackBerry for bbm alone.

Posted via CB10

Push to talk messaging is a very important feature. Its the main reason we chat has 300m users. While driving for example you can just use it like a walkie talkie. At traffic lights etc. Its very useful for quick responses. Minimising having to look at your screen.

By the way push to talk is NOT voice note. Use it and you'll understand.

BBM is smart to implement this. Give no advantages to competition.

Facebook just updated their chat into the native BlackBerry app too.

Posted via CB10

BB should just create a walkie talkie like feature and add another notch to BBM.Plenty of clients would love the walkie talkie capability. That in itself is a huge selling point especially on for TV advertising.
Come on BB go hard or go home!!!

I have to say, people don't necessary seek for the best. Most of them just want something near their hands so that they don't need too much research and thinking. Remember why so many of us are still using Microsoft Office?

Posted via CB10

A question..

Is blackberry planning to add a much wider variety of smilies in their crossplat version of BBM?

The only thing ill miss from wassap when i get back to BBM,,,, is the vast amount of smilies...

BBM falls very short in that department , is not even funny.

I think it's time for BlackBerry to kick WhatsApp out of BlackBerry App Store/World. It's direct competitor to BBM. Since BlackBerry is NOT dominant in OS or handset market there is no legal action WhatsApp could take against BlackBerry.

Unfortunately, BBM is going to go cross-platform just as Whatsapp--a service with three times the subscriber base--rolls out a feature BBM doesn't have.

This will only serve to strengthen Whatsapp and cause folks otherwise loyal to BB/BBM to think twice.


BlackBerry is dying folks.


Posted via CB10

This is a very popular feature with WeChat, the most popular messaging platform in Asia. You could even argue it's the defining feature, and I'm glad WhatsApp have implemented it also. All eyes are now on you, BBM.

BlackBerry should buy whatsapp and destroy it, then implement push to talk and say they made it.

Opps that is like apple would do, but oh well can't beat Em, guess u should join em.

Posted via CB10

I think this would be great, but there is a risk they would spend all their cash and have none for product innovation and advertising. All the negativity about BB is about their market performance, and personally as a Canadian consumer all I want is for BB to make a profit so they can continue to innovate and make make great phones, mobile computing and MDM solutions. And market performance certainly has little to do with being a successful business and all about making a return on investment for stock holders. I say if they can pull it off while continuing down the BB10 path, go for it.

Technically, it's kind of already there by way of voice notes but that option is hidden behind quite a few menus and usability is a key factor for people.

Actually it's not even that hidden. One press to the attachment button and you got the voice notes.

Personally, it's not that big a deal. I'd rather this type of option was put where it was under attachment unlike a button so close and in the way that whatsapp has done.

What they've done is nothing new nor threatening to bbm unlike some posts would like to make it out to be.

And technically, I agree with you. But with the consumer today, you have to wave it in their faces. I think it would be a small thing to implement (basically, you just move the voicememo attach option from one menu to another). It's nothing, really. But you do it, and you cry out to the whole world: 'look, I made peepee in the potty!' and you wil be rewarded. Sad, but true...