It seems that nowadays, more and more BlackBerry users are making the switch to other platforms, or running a secondary device in addition to their BlackBerry. I know I personally have a few friends using other platforms, and have recently added an iPod Touch to my itinerary. In these cases, BBM is not an option to stay connected, but some users just can't break away from some of the features offered by BBM.
I recently received word of a new IM application that aims to solve this problem. Cnectd takes the normal IM experience and attempts to make it as close to using BBM as possible. Currently available for Android, iPhone, Symbian, and BlackBerry, this cross-platform app allows you to chat with your friends on other platforms, while still enjoying some of the favourite features we know and love in BBM. I loaded it on both my BlackBerry and iPod last night, and here's the quick and dirty on what I have noticed.
The app has a relatively small memory footprint, which is always something I pay attention to when loading a new app. Legacy of my Storm days, I suppose, always keeping an eye on my memory resources. The signup process is quite simple, and is performed right in the application, rather than having to go to a website to accomplish it. I did note a bug with the signup screen, but the development team is great with feedback, and it IS a beta application.
The UI of the app is rather polished, and really does evoke thoughts of BBM in its layout. Adding contacts is simple, simply click "add contact" and enter the person's Cnectd handle. The app also features Groups, which I can see being extremely handy when cross-platform chatting with multiple people. My girlfriend almost lives in one of her BBM groups, and has been looking for a substitute to use on her iPod to keep in touch with her friends in the group. This is a perfect solution for that, allowing a Group experience for those who don't have BBM. The app also integrates with your message list, an extremely handy feature that I have missed with other IM clients. Other features are integrated as well, but these are really the ones that shine for me.
For a BlackBerry user, I can see this becoming a very popular application, with it emulation of the native Messenger application allowing the BBM "experience" with friends on other platforms. Unfortunately, you may have to twist their arms a little to get them to use it, as there are "better" apps out there for other platforms. I loved the application on my 9700, and intend to keep using it to keep in touch with my girlfriend when she is at home without her BB to hand. On the iPod however, it seems rather bland and lacking compared to other clients, so you may have an issue getting your friends to actually use the application. That being said, the app is still in beta for all platforms, so there is more to look forward to, and it has the potential to become a solid offering for other platforms, time will tell.
Currently the beta is available for devices running 4.5 OS and up.