Cnectd – A Cross-Platform BBM Alternative? Beta Now Available for Download

By Michael Hepples on 18 May 2010 02:41 pm EDT
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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.

Reader comments

Cnectd – A Cross-Platform BBM Alternative? Beta Now Available for Download

72 Comments

Interesting, but as the article states, the core problem isn't getting something that will work on iPhone or even emulating what BBM does. The problem is convincing someone with an iPhone (and possibly a large text plan) that they need to use this to talk to you.

As a BB user, you really don't have a huge incentive to carry a more expensive text plan. I have the 200 per month plan, and that's generally fine b/c my wife or anyone else on a BB has BBM.

The reason BBM is so successful is that the thing is always ON out of the box, even if the person you're talking to has no appreciation for tinkering with their phone. It's already 100% possible to do free messaging/chats with an iPhone user, but you have to convince them to run something like AIM and actually LOG IN.

I've been using this for a few days now, and I gotta say it's been awesome to have all our iphone friends in our groups now!
I have an iphone and storm2 and I can switch back and forth between the two using the same ID, the chats sync across!
I probably won't give up BBM, but i'm glad I finally have a place where I can get everyone together regardless of their platform.

iphone users, cnectd actually has push notifications so you can enjoy getting messages instantly just like everyone else :)

Just wait until your friends get the Blackberry Bug; within 1 month of getting my 8900, 20 of my friends got one for themselves. It's contagious!

on my BBM list and Twitter, and got a pretty good response in one day across various platforms (about 60 people so far).

Straightforward design and ease of use. Needs some tweaking obviously, and although I am easily annoyed by people who text SOLELY via smiley, the inclusion of some smileys/emoticons would be welcome.

Location-based services need some work. Yesterday it was accurate, but today all of my "nearby users" searches are getting results from North Atlantic users - I'm currently in northern California.

Oh - and resize that icon. lol

CnectedID: V

I understand that the locations can be quite innacurate as it uses cell towers, but fails over to on-board GPS which can take a while. They are apparently working on it and will hopefully have it sorted in next version!! great app tho:)

2nd the giant icon comment. That thing is ridiculous! I was going to put it next to my BBM icon on the home screen, but it's so fugly, I think I'll just let the push notifications pop up and set up a QuickLaunch shortcut or something. Haha.

What's so different about these chat apps that any IM app doesn't do? Until RIM opens up the bbm network for everyone to chat, I don't see the point. I've tried to get others on something else, and they always answer, why not text me?

Why is there no link to a website for the app to read more about it? Meebo works for me on android and I get to chat with people even on facebook chat. I was amazed at how many people use facebook chat.

I agree. It just comes down to you. Just use whatever works for you. Someone will always find a reason to complain about something, so whatever suits your needs best - go for it.

I use BBM, all of the IM apps (though only BeeJive on my phone, to cut down on the number of apps necessary) and have unlimited data/texts.

I think the thinking here is that many people are IMing on their phones, as opposed to via computer. People have different preferences concerning IM apps - GTalk, YIM, MSN, FBIM,etc. If you come up with one app that goes across platforms, is *free* (no texts - works via data plan) and easy to use (and via password so it can be transferred from phone to phone effortlessly - at least that's how I'm figuring this needs to work) resulting in less applications necessary to be installed on a device with limited available memory, why not? Most of my BBM friends have iPod friends that they would like to chat with, and vice versa with iPod users on pMessenger. This helps with that.

It looks like it has the Delivered / Read (ish) notifications we cherish so much, which is what seperates it from Lucid all the other "All together now" IM applications, I think. Can't wait to get everyone I know running on this!

How do I install with just the .jad file? I keep getting:-
"Download failed."
Details:
907 Invalid COD
File not found

Are you sure you are installing the correct version of cnectd?

for devices with OS < 4.7 you need to point ur BB browser to http://www.cnectd.com/B1/CnectdBlackberry4.jad

OS 5.0 or higher, go to http://www.cnectd.com/B1/CnectdBlackberry.jad

you can confirm your OS version by going to Options->About. If you are unsure, go with http://www.cnectd.com/B1/CnectdBlackberry4.jad as it works across OS 4 & 5!

Got it from the < 4.7 link at the end of the article, named "CnectdBlackberry4.jad"
I'm having the same problem with the QuickPull.jad, for 4.5, linked from another article.

I thought the benefit of BBM was that it was instant messaging over the data network, eliminating the need for adding large text bundles to phone plans.

SMS-based instant messaging has existed between devices long before now. This is a small splash in a rather large pond.

That's the whole point of this. This app (or any instant messanger) DOES NOT USE YOUR TEXT MESSAGES. So, if you have a plan where you pay for 200 or 1400 a month, or whatever, you will not use a single SMS text message if you are using this app.

The whole reason people want this is because they don't want to go over their SMS text limits. I use texts also, but you burn through those pretty quick doing a "conversation". Also, this has "push" messaging, which means somebody can get your attention without you having to be purposefully logged into a chat.

You can go straight to their web site.... www.cnectd.com .... open up BBM and click add contact by barcode..and then scan that barcode that is on the website and it takes you directly to the download page.. pretty sweet..

If I have this program on an iPhone, can I chat with someone else using bbm WITHOUT them having to load this program on their bb device?

Funny I just installed WhatsApp tonight, appears to offer similar experience, thought I know it uses BlackBerry/iPhone push APIs and I'm not sure about this one. It's at whatsapp.com

I see no reason to switch from whatsapp to this. My iphone pals and i are connected via whatsapp. With symbian and andriod version coming up, its gonna rock!

As a multi-platform, whatsapp is not BB-friendly.. The pricing plan is ridiculous, at 1.99 every year, compared to a one-time .99 for iPhone users..

I could categorize it as unfair, but hardly ridiculous, 2 bucks a year (17 cents a month) isn't an unfair price. I know we'd all like to see it free.

Doesn't matter if it costs $.99, $1.99, or $9.99...the point is that there's a difference between asking a friend or mild acquaintance: "Hey, go install this FREE app, and you'll be able to chat with me for free w/o setting anything else up", versus "Hey, for a SMALL FEE, you can install this app and we can chat".

I downloaded it and posted the link on my Facebook. Hopefully my friends with iPhones and Android phones will pick this up. Nice to have one place for everyone :)

I have a Storm 2 and just downloaded this Application last night. For some reason, it will not locate where I am correctly. Keeps putting me in Germany when I am in the US...NH to be exact! Secondly, I try to upload a photo, it saves it and then as soon as I click off my profile, my photo vanishes and I have the cartoon head again. Is anyone else having similar issues? I LOVE BBM but most family and friends have an Android phone or Iphone. I miss all the features of BBM. File share, voice note and PING!

hey....we are aware of the profile pic issue as well as the location (i.e. every1 in Germany!) issues. we are doing our best to attend to these and keep checking back for new releases!

I really don't understand how developers think that creating more and more mobile IM apps/networks is a good idea. Most people who IM started at a computer and are using something like ICQ, MSN, Yahoo, GTalk, etc. I primarily use GTalk and sometimes the others to talk to friends who don't have a BB. Not only can I talk to contacts who don't have a BB, I can use a desktop client when I am at a computer! I do wish that some revolutionary merge would take place where everyone could talk to anyone via IM from any mobile device and/or computer. This is what I want...not more/different IM networks that only a few people will use if any.

None of those things you listed work unless you and all your contacts turn on the app. We're starting to see more and more apps like Beejive and IM Plus that merge multiple services, and that's a good thing. But the only way an IM can truly replace text messaging is if (a) It's automatically on when you turn on the phone; and (b) It uses some type of push notification such that I know as soon as you send me a message without have to head to an IM program or check anything.

Yes, I'm fully aware that something like Beejive can be made to do all those things, but your friends will not use it in that way. Even BBM wouldn't be successful if it weren't for the fact that every phone already has it installed, and it's already set to run automatically in the background, even if you know zero about how to use your phone. Cnected does the same thing for BB and iPhone, alike.

I was the first to post this application on here on the day it came out... one big bug with it, is it thinks everyone is in Germany... advised the developers of the issue..

i don't really see the point of it. AIM, Gtalk and others are cross platform, and most peple will have those rather than Cnectd. maybe it will catch on on the long run

Ive used it the past 2 days, took a few reboots on my 8350i to load up but works well, me and my friend on her iphone have been chatting up on it. seems ok no problems really.

Hi all,

I just downloaded it today, got a friend with an iPhone and another on an Android to use it, and it works well. It does, however, have this constantly syncing issue. Every time I start up the app or even just click on another menu, it syncs. Does anyone else get that? Is it gonna be a huge drain on battery life?

I love that it's free, I love that it seems to work well (except the D and R above the ticks doesn't really work on my chats). The GUI though, could really do with simplification and improvement, and privacy settings, please please please have privacy settings. A person with the handle "strangeoldman" tried to add me TWICE. I ended up changing my gender to unknown and my profile pic to some random thing just so the pervs would stop harrassing me.

hi...thanks for the feedback....we are busy including Privacy setting for upcoming versions!! and enhancing the UI.

thanks for the feedback!

i was hoping for an app like this since im going over to the droid...but...ive tried DL the file 3 times and it will NOT work on my tour...i have dl the correct file and it just keeps coming up with an error uncaught error and something else...i try to open the app and it does NOTHING! any help???

have u all guys tried pmessenger? or whatsapp? those are one place for everyone. ive tried once and had loved it! i removed it once i got myself bb onyx. again. lol. try to google it!

One of my reasons for gettin my BB was BBM, and on top of that, the phone is just enuff for me. I still dont even use alllll the perks on my bb now.. n i own a touch so im good. But i think i'll stick to bbm. a good percentage of my friends and business conects are on BBm anyway..

with u on that...but there will always be ppl u need to spk to on other platforms...this provides the solution in a familiar BBM style interface...worth a bash!

unfortunately we had to remove the FB connect link out of BB version as FB had some technical issues with mobile browser permission settings on BB. So FB connect only available in iPhone and Android right now....we working to resolve and add back to BB version real soon.

thanks for the feedback and keep checking back for updated versions

I don't know if it's just me ... but it doesn't seem to run in the background and I keep closing the program so no messages are coming through. Is it something i'm doing or does it not do that? cuz I would love this program if it did that!

Does this program run in the background? I just got it but it doesnt appear to stay running when I exit to the home screen?

Incoming & Outgoing IMs don't appear in my INBOX folder where I receive email from my various email accounts along with IMs from yahoo msgr and BBM Does this program not do that or is there a setting that I am missing? One of the things i like about BB is that i can read all of my incoming/outgoing email/IMs in one unified folder

Ive noticed that when a BB is restarted or loses connectivity, the PUSH feature has to be manually re-registered with Blackberry servers. Often one doesnt realize this disconnect has occurred. Why not have the program attempt to auto reregister itself when Push is deactivated. One may never know that the program isnt automatically receiving IMs until you use the program to send an IM out

Downloaded the latest version of cnectd... seems to work OK, but having troubles linking my account with FB.

Similar to other posts, not sure I get it:
- BBM is "native" BB-to-BB messaging
- Gtalk, YM, WinLive are cross platform - plus they work on PCs...
- If you want a consolidated IM/chat, there's Trillian/Astra which is also mobile cross-platform

What is value of Cnectd if you are already running the above ?

I can add bbm users or cnectd users its great with 1 glitch mine keeps saying something about the java and closes every once and a while but I can add and send messages just fine