Review: PingChat 2 unites BlackBerry, iPhone and Android users through IM

By Ryan Blundell on 30 Aug 2010 03:09 pm EDT
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pingchat2

One issue I had with my friends is that, for some strange reason, were using other platforms besides BlackBerry. I know, crazy right? Communication was never the same after they left. Sure, we had SMS, email or even social networks; but it wasn’t the same as BBM. It wasn’t the same as seeing that little, yellow, smiley face staring at you. That friendly grin reminded you of that special connection you once shared exclusively between your respective BlackBerrys. Once part of your elite group of BBM contacts, they now reside with the rest of the masses in your address book or social network. Now while you may never get that feeling back again, there are alternative means to keep in touch, regardless of platform. One of which is PingChat 2.

PingChat 2 offers cross platform chit chatting between BlackBerry, Android and iPhone users in a way that beats the pants off of simple SMS or email. PingChat 2 provides message notifications, group chat capabilities, media support and more. If certain people out there are reading this (you know who you are), have a look and realize that you can run from my BBM, but you can’t hide from PingChat! Mwa-hahahah!

About PingChat 2

PingChat 2 was developed by Enflick Inc; who also provide iPhone users with the TextNow and Mail Notifier applications. Back in September 2009, iPhone users were given PingChat as a means to communicate “like” BlackBerry users. The new PingChat 2 invites BlackBerry and Android users to the conversation as well. Recently available from BlackBerry App World (though many have used it long before), the current version is 1.0.3, which has a file size of 418.9 KB.

Before you get started, you will need to get a free PingID. The PingID is all that you need to start a conversation. This version doesn’t have the options that the iPhone version (being 2.0) has, but it does get the job done.

There isn’t that much to the application to date. Users need to obtain the PingID from the other party (or parties), before you can talk to them. After that, they are added to your contact list. You can also link them to your BlackBerry Address Book to add their picture ID as well. Conversations are viewed as speech bubbles that appear to be coming from two people off screen. Each individual message is limited to 200 characters. This limit is shown at the top of the chat window. From this screen, a check mark beside your message acts as a delivery confirmation; just like BBM. So PingChat 2 has the “d”, but not the “r”- leaving you guessing if they have actually read it or not. PingChat 2 supports the sharing of media files (image, video and audio) as well.

pingchat 2 chat
blah blah blah
PingChat 2 share media
you can send images, videos and audio files!

PingChat 2 comes equipped with message notifications to keep you informed of new messages. I had a slight problem with the way it worked. With BBM, the new message icon would display a number indicating the number of contacts I have a new message from. With PingChat, the number represents the number of messages in total. So if one contact sent 3 messages, I would see the number 3. You are also able to modify the alert settings via your BlackBerry Profile page.

PingChat 2 settings menu
a very limited settings menu

I had two main problems with PingChat 2; no help menu/guide and no location messaging capabilities. With no guide to refer to (I know, who reads the manual anyway?) and no true support from their website, you may find yourself lost and confused. Nowhere in PingChat 2 or Google Maps can I find an option for location messaging. Basically, the service allows you to send your location via Google Maps. The website doesn’t offer much detail or even a walkthrough of PingChat, leaving the user to figure it out for themselves. The application, and the website, look smooth and sexy, but there isn’t much content to back it up.

Conclusion

I wasn’t too impressed with the current version of PingChat 2. Besides offering a way to connect, regardless of platform, there wasn’t much substance available. I say this because the lack of the advertised Location Messaging feature and no guide to refer to. I was happy to see a smooth UI and media support. With the hype it possesses, I have high hopes for future builds; especially looking forward to seeing emoticon support. I'm not counting PingChat 2 out yet! If you want to give PingChat 2 a shot, you can pick it up for free from BlackBerry App World.

Pros

  • Easy to follow chat window
  • Media Support
  • Group Chat

Cons

  • No location messaging
  • No true guide to refer to

More Info

44 comments

blazenboi

Lol yay first one to comment!. I cant wait to try this!

ffac789

You never answered whether it truly does what BBM does, unless you meant it when you said IM, but is it nearly instantaneous delivery of a message? Bbm is more of a chat but if this is basically a more organized SMS system then it's pointless. But if I don't have to wait 2 minutes before my text actually reaches them then it's worth a try.

ffac789

Well I answered my own question when I went to it's App World page but it seems it doesn't work for Verizon and/or the Storm 2 because it says my carrier or device doesn't support it. I would hope this app is still in development then haha.

Ryan Blundell

PingChat 2 has been updated to 1.0.5 since it was reviewed last week. The location messaging issue remains.

computerwolf

I have been using this since I first heard of it a few weeks ago. It works well most of the time, and is mostly instantaneous. There have been a few times where a message takes time to send and there have been some bugs and kinks to work out, but they seem to be releasing a steady flow of updates.

One thing I did notice different from the review is that I feel that the check mark shows that the other person read the message, not that it was delivered. I may be mistaken, but I have only seen the check mark when the message is actually opened.

I feel that this could blossom into a great app, it just needs to catch up in features to its android and iOS counterparts and take some notes from BBM.

serpico

From my experience most users don't care for IM apps. Blackberry messenger is all that blackberry users care about and seem to look down on anyone who suggests texting.

Users on other platforms will just text from my experience. They scoff when ever I suggest a new IM app that will work with all platforms such as this. I have tried as a blackberry and android user to share options with everyone, but they repeatedly state, "what's wrong with texting?"

So as much as this app is great for every platform, seems the biggest hurdle is why another app and why do I need it?

Agent00J

Most of my friends with other smartphones tend to get unlimited texting and data plans, therefore it'll be quite a challenge to convince them to get an app ... for texting.

krourke973

Ok, Im half blaming it on a crappy Monday at work but I cannot for the life of me find this in App World!!!! Is it because I own the Storm 2...Verizon????? FIGURES!

angels728

apparently it does not support our phone (storm 2 vzw) :-(

Zanshin-

I suppose us Storm owners should get used to that now that both the Storm 1 and 2 are dead.

No updated OS's, newer apps don't support it... I've been a BB fan since the Pearl 8130 was released, after owning that and both Storms and being put through the whole Storm fiasco, I now have little faith that the Storm 3 will be anything but a failure, or it's lifespan cut short. As much as BB's make sense to me and do the bare minimum of what I want them to do, it doesn't outweigh the my strong sense of being completely ripped off by a corporation that seems to not give two flying sacks of piss about non-BES users like myself.

I'd like to think that BB will only get better, but being slapped in the face for being a Storm user and then watching as the 9700 users went through a rollercoaster ride with OS6 and the whole idea of capitalist "refreshed" devices; how much more of this can I take? How much more of this can YOU take? I hate the idea of swallowing my BB pride and becoming an iPhone fanboi! Maybe it's time to give Android a fair chance after all...

Sigh...

/rant.

Strakerc

You realize the Torch is also touch screen right? Now there are 3 RIM touchscreen devices, and the number will only grow in the future. However, there are more non-touch devices, so they take priority (as they should) for app developers. Neither android nor apple have these kinds of problems as their devices are all touchscreen for the most part. Relax, storm support is added on almost all devices, and the coming of the Torch will only help with that.

Besides, cnectd has been out for months, does all of of what Ping Chat can do, and has touchscreen support. It is also free (unlike whatsapp), uses push notification, has delivered and read notifications, etc...it's just in beta and has an ugly UI, but the chat, group chat, and media sharing functionality works flawlessly. Just don't sync to location or fb as those functions don't work yet :)

In conclusion think/research before you do an off topic rant in a blog post like this...

AgentScribe

Torch 9800.

Can't find it in App World either. Help anybody?

JJGeneral1

try sending the link to your phone from mobihand...

mp5wes

I use beejive for my IM's for people who don't have bbm so how is this different than any other IM clients like AIM, gtalk, etc? Reason why I say this is because I don't understand what's the used to add another app onto my phone and have other's do it too when we both have the regular IM clients that already came with the phone other than to add the "BBM experience". I could be wrong here and if I am, I would like insight on this app. Thank you.

ffac789

An app like this is different from your typical IM apps such as AIM, Yahoo, what have you in that you don't have to sign in, it's not constantly connecting you like with those IM apps, which require someone logging on as well. Therefore, it's less battery draining to just have an app that uses instant messaging, but does not require the user to be online or logged in. Of course you have to have a connection to a data network to receive messages.

Basically it saves a little more battery and uses less data to use an app like this versus one where you have to log in. AIM and others, however, do have the advantage of talking to someone who might be logged into a computer. But, it will drain your battery more, and if you're browsing the internet on your phone, it will also slow it down. So if you were logged into AIM, Yahoo, and MSN messengers all at once, your phone would probably be a little slow with other tasks, versus using BBM, Kik, and this.

stealthfox

Appworld says it doesn't work for my device (Torch). What's up with that?

coffee-turtle

I do agree with the above posters that this doesn't seem to really give an advantage to just using an I.M. client.

Android folks seem to like g-talk. BeeJive and Trillian allow you to use an assortment of chat clients in one app.

BBM is the best with other BB users. If the other OS platforms had anything like BBM and this app somehow combined them all into one, then I would see an advantage.

Other than that, this is just another I.M. client that you would first have to convince all your non-BBM friends to use.

Dirt McGirt#CB

there is a client called whatsapp that allows instant chat with reciept/images/files/vcards/location/video to be used across bb, android, and iphone. i happen to own all 3 and can say that it is instant and has all the same functions across all platforms.

to get my friends to use it i just asked if they would like to pay 20/mo for texting or a one time fee of 0.99, and also that i wouldnt reply to their texts.

try it out, i love it, it allows you to switch platforms without having to let everyone know to that your gonna be on gtalk and not bbm or the other way around.

jcastilloalonso

Whatsapp is 99c on the iPhone, yet on Blackberry it's $1.99 and worse... A YEAR, so every single year we have to pay for the privilege while iPhone users is a one time fee. So while I used to love whatsapp in the iPhone, I really do hate the idea of paying double on the Blackberry and paying each year to keep the service.

p_the_capo

Whatsapp is available on android? are you sure about that?

Can you provide a link?

I like Whatsapp, I've been using it to talk to my friends on iPhone for some time but it lacks a few things I think they should have sorted along time ago; group chat, android support and the UI is ugly and has some unnecessary features. Why do we need to see our contacts that dont have whatsapp?

karloncho

Blackberry storm 9550 still not supported, i was hopping to get a better option than Whatsapp, but it seems that needs more work.

ffac789

Try Kik, it's basically the same thing and works for the 9550.

excelzero

I've been using PingChat and the thing I like about it is that it's free! I don't have to worry about convincing my friends to install a paid app for their iPhone or Android like WhatsApp. It's so much easier for me to tell them to go grab it and try it because there is nothing to lose it is free!

bigjman

Not supported on my torch.

ichidakira

For people that needs to communicate with people in different parts of the world, texting can only go so far until you phone bill goes through the roof.

IM apps is a great way for people to talk to each other as long as you have data but honestly dont see any advantages with the app VS whatsapp, gtalk, etc.

davidnyc

Go to pingchat.com/blackberry on your BlackBerry!

Enflick

Thanks for the feature Crackberry. You know our love is real. :)

Have any questions? Hit us up on Twitter @PingChat

steph12085

Won't work on my storm 2 =(

mattpowell19

I think that the app is great. It is a great IM client for cross platforms. I would, as people have previously stated, like to see whether or not a message has been read, also, I would like to see a way to add another person into a previously started conversation. If there was a way to invite someone in or something along those lines.
I do like the fact that this does take the need for SMS away cuz almost all people these days have smart phones. Being able to use this rather then SMS is phenomenal.

Jleeblanch

Not available for my device or carrier is what is said to be my issue in App World. Cool...

fjleon

hey people, there are standard im software for all platforms. They are called msn, aim, yahoo and google talk. Use them instead of fractioning the im space even more

ffac789

Yeah, but logging into it drains the battery and uses more data than this IM SMS type of apps such as BBM, Kik, and PingChat.

pattste

It would be nice once in a while if an app review didn't have to point out that the BlackBerry version lags behind the iPhone and Android versions... Considering the number of BlackBerry users, you would think we would get more love.

carolynblack

I tried to download this app and got the message that it was not available for my device or carrier. I have a Storm 2 and Verizon. What is up with that? The write up says it is for all devices.

sgtoca

so why promote it? I tried to dl it but it said not supported humph! every other app out there works on my BB so I'll just stick to Trillian or good ol' faithful BBM.

Altarocks

Now, if I can just find an app that gives more hours per day...

StormJH1

There is an app called "cnectd" that already does this, and I've been using it to chat to iPhone and Droid users for several months. The U.I. isn't the greatest but it has push notification, is always on, and gets the job done. I actually find it easier to send pictures than it is in BBM.

Is PingChat "always on"? In other words, if I just turn my phone on and do nothing, will I be able to receive messages, etc.? When you try to explain to an iPhone user why they need this - that's what they never understand. Yes, there are dozens of IM programs, but none of them (except for cnectd and maybe a few others) work cross-platform AND are always ready to receive messages.

I may audition this one (b/c it's nicer looking), but cnectd already does everything this one does (with minimal battery drain and memory use) - it's a shame that not too many people know about it (yes, it's free).

Hdesign3

all i find is pingchat not pingchat 2 on the apps catalog. am I missing something here?

BDavis81

Description from AppWorld:

"WORKS WITH ALL MOST SMARTPHONES. Messaging does not have to be limited to phones. "

lol, all most

thbassman

Again they really should list in these reviews what devices they are for!!! It is not TORCH compatible!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mindguy

What a GREAT idea! Gotta have it!

lisamariie

when will pingchat be ready for the 8120 pearl ?? :[

BlackB_G

I like the app... add me in. Username is kg.idowu