Head to Head Video: BlackBerry Messenger vs. Apple iMessage!

By Kevin Michaluk on 9 Jun 2011 06:49 pm EDT

During this week's Apple iOS 5 announcement, Steve Jobs fired a shot at Research In Motion when he announced Apple's version of BlackBerry Messenger, iMessage. While not as feature rich as good 'ole BBM, it does offer send and read indicators which give it that much-treasured BBM feeling. Rather than delivering the experience in a separate iMessaging application, it's actually baked into the text messaging app, which makes it pretty seamless (if you don't have an iOS device you just get a text message and not an iMessage). 

With some help from Bla1ze on the other end, in the video above me and Rene from TiPb.com compare iMessenger and BlackBerry Messenger in a bit of a head to head shootout. Check it out as we see how the two stack up, both in terms of features and in terms of SPEED. 

Now that Apple has it's own alternative to BlackBerry Messenger, I wonder if this is enough to make RIM go ahead and put out that cross-platform version of BBM that so many of us have been longing for? Sound off in the comments! 

Reader comments

Head to Head Video: BlackBerry Messenger vs. Apple iMessage!


with your BBM u can add someone to it with just a regular phone number, it doesn't have to be a PIN or an email.. i have done it many times...

yes you can however that's not a true BBM as it does not have the S,D,R Badges or "Is Typing Message" Feature and still uses ur Txt Msg Plan.

I like having a seperate Icon for BBM. BBM is so Iconic that it needs its own Icon. BB has a the Universal Inbox however that allows you to view ALL Messages in the same Inbox so Like the other guy said No win here. It's all pretty seamless/integrated on BB.

don't forget... how many people are actually using apple's servers for iMessages right now?? Figure how many BBM's are being sent while you are doing this. Try it when Apple is getting flooded with iMs and see how stable it is.

Yes, of course this is a good point, not to metion that BBM has tons of features that iMessage doesn't, but the apple loving crew at CB (worshipping their over priced and underperforming iMacs and Macbook Pros) immediatley worship at the apple alter.

Really if RIM is on their game (big assumption) Apple has just handed them a ton a free "one-up" advertising. Basically Apple admits that BBM is valuable and comes no where near matching it in features.

Example " If you don't have a Blackberry then you can't gift time or Apps to you friends and family."

"If you dont have a Blackberry then you can't use BBM to discuss books with your BBM friends"

For many people the iPhone is great I get it, but RIM needs to fight the perception that iPhone can do everything that every other phone can plus more. iPhone can do a lot but BB do some stuff better so get that message out.

IMessage does not need to be better than BBM, it only needs to just work and it will be a hit. Judging from the video, looks like it works beautifully, I am very impressed. For the first time I think I might be iphone bound.

You can add text contacts to bbm but it would be an extra step instead of fully integrated like iMessage

Yes. This what I was going to say. I've included text contacts (all iPhone users) into my BBM contacts list. They all look like they are BB BBM contacts. I wouldn't need to do that if they'd just get a BlackBerry.

I had no idea you could do this, awesome. And this is why I love BB, there's always something new to find/figure out, I feel like I have a new phone.

Lol that was awesome. Can we have more 3 way/conference vids in future please? XD

Is there already a CB group? If so, where is it? If not, we should make one.

iMessage isn't even out for users yet, so the Apple servers and data pipes are not under any load, let's see how well Apple can scale before we declare a speed winner. They're both quick enough I'm sure though!

BBM but i honestly think that by aesthetics the IM looks nifty. I wish RIM would revamp its sms and bbm thread looks!

I wonder what's the reaction of RIM when Apple released the iMessage. I admit I'm a hater! iHate Apple:p

It looks interesting, although I'm surprised Kevin didn't touch on the fact that SMS contacts can be added to BBM - messages can be sent to BBM and SMS contacts all within the same interface. Plus, games and other apps can integrate with BBM.

BBM Groups is also something that really stands out. Nice to see Kevin touch on that feature. Hopefully they will do a more rounded comparison in the future.

I agree. Kevin you dropped the ball by saying you can't integrate you sms and bbm messages. That would have been an opportunity to showcase how BB can be customized to the user.

I think iMessage is not ready to be compared with bbm yet. There are no shared lists, calendars, nor real "groups" for that matter.

yeah that was lame. I have all my messages combined. Email, SMS, BBM. In fact I rarely actually go into BBM, I even keep it in some sub-folder. It's such a foreign concept for me to see everything as its own folder like Kevin has...

Nice,but from what I see iMessage does not have status updates, avatars, groups....these are all the little things that make BBM what it is. The iMessage UI looks as if it was only designed for 1-on-1 chatting...your sent messages on the right of the screen and the other person's incoming messages on the left side...I dont know how group chat will work on it. Dont tell me that with all the hype this iMessage thing is generating, simple group chat wont be available. From what I've seen so far there's not much difference between iMessage and normal SMS texting, which is boring. Also, I wish Apple would give the option of choosing a 'screen name' for iMessage instead of using Apple ID. As you know your Apple ID is essentially your e-mail address and not everyone wants their e-mail addy out there.
As it is now, iMessage = to SMS texting+sent/read notifications+ability to send pictures, contacts, documents. But hardly a BBM-killer yet.

How could you?! You were easy on them. :(

We can integrate SMS into BBM.
We can check ALL our messages in the "Message" folder.
You watched him pull down his notification bar and never mentioned we can do the exact same thing.
We have customizable LED's! You should have been like "Oh hey, white LED (yeah, needs an App) here's a BBM!"

Man. :(


Furthermore, the test should be done using the same cellular network to get the most accurate comparison.

what's the difference with crunch sms then? for apple users, it's almost the same like ol' sms with new UI and WIFI?!

I prefer a separate app between SMS and iMessage/BBM
That way i know exactly what I am sending to my family and friends abroad.

I merged the SMS and BBM before and I always forgot that I was replying to SMS but i typed it like it's a BBM... phone bill got bigger. haha.

Never again.

Jee wiz!.. you BB users will never be happy no matter the outcome... I'm sure Kevin and Rene know how to conduct a fair comparison test.

Whats funny about all this is Text messaging on BB also show msg delivered just like BBM... only thing u don't get is the "Read" notification. That's like some 15 year old feature called "delivery status" in case ya'll forgot. Gosh..

Also.. BBM is integrated with text messaging. You can link your contacts with their BBM profile if they are on BBM but it will not detect it automatically but thats only because BBM gives you the option of choosing to add or decline a BBM contact unlike Imessage. Don't forget BBM started as a tool for office free messaging instead of using email before it went out to all everyday users. Your PIN is personal and you choose to give it out thats why BB does not work like Imessage. All imessage does is it has taken what Whatsapp does with your phone number i.e automatically adds them to your favourites list because the telephone numbers are used as the ID.

Having said that.. no idea why you are all moaning. Imessage will only make BB up their game thus improving on BBM even more meaning at the end of the day we all win.

Tired of ya'll acting like lil fruits going gaga over some device that you'd be tired of and look to upgrade in about 6 months or so. Last time i checked the only people getting rich of your arguments was Apple and Blackberry shareholders.

Give it a rest and just appreciate the competition.. u ultimately benefit from better products in the long run.


I guess I'm the only former Berry user (well and my husband) who didn't like nor use BBM. Mostly because I HATED the R and D thing - sorry, if I read your message and don't feel like responding, I don't need to be harassed by you sending me messages saying "I know you read it".

Sorry, still think it's over rated.

Only plus iMessage has is you don't have to worry about if the person has iMessage or not it detects automatically. I have tried iMessage between iphone-ipad-ipod touch it is fine. Wish bbm was integrated into text messaging

LiveProfile is still in beta, and last I checked, it doesn't even have file transfers in their BB version yet. Plus the don't is too small. The app isn't customizable enough. It has a ton of clutter that you can't clear out in the friend's status. Right now, its a mess. The only thing going for it is that its fast.

1. If your keypad is set up to take commands, pressing N will put you right into BBM - no need to search for an icon. Anything like that on iMessage?
2. BBM still works well on my wife's old AT&T 8310 - without WiFi or 3g...iMessage has gotta have at least one of them to work.
3. It's been convenient to email and resend an entire BBM conversation to a 3rd party - right from the BBM menu. iMessage does that, too?

I hope RIM can integrate SMS in BB OS to BBM . I know we can send SMS from BBM but
still we have separate SMS icon.
after that, make sending and receiving TXT free , not just between BBM to BBM , but to
any phones , to any platforms.
now, I don't know if that is possible , please excuse my ignorance.

your universal inbox already does this. And unless you have unlimited texts, it will never be free. You can get email, SMS, BBM, WhatsApp, and any other notification in just your Universal inbox. Then if you want you can hide the Txt Icon, or even the BBM Icon. and just have the 1 Inbox icon.

Question- can iMessage be installed on iOS4 devices, cause BBM is on every device. And Point- Kevin did everything one handed while Rene use 2 hands to accomplish his tasks- that is a BBM win to me.

what's new here iMessage diff from already existing apps like kik, whatsapp etc on iOS? BBM 4ever period

Will Jobs let iMess users transfer ANY type of files? I regularly share mp3 files up to 6 mb in size with my BBM contacts.

Does anyone know if the messages sent thru iMessage internationally are free? Or do you get charged international charges?

not impressed... also Kevin, u kinda let us down on this head to head, lousy job on pointing out so many features bbm can do just like im and maybe better! i added my fav text contacts to bbm and therefore only use 1 app for that. iM is just an improved version of whatsapp for iOS...

I am with Rogers, with unlimited text and MMS. Reason why I said that is with the menu option to invite a contact to BBM, they have "Add a text messaging contact".

So with my unlimited use I can still send videos and pictures, and get the response in my BBM.

I wish BBM would stay exclusive for Blackberry. I'm sad to see it pimped out cross-platform.