Review: WhatsApp Messenger for BlackBerry Smartphones

By Ryan Blundell on 27 Apr 2010 02:09 pm EDT
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In a perfect world, everyone would be using BlackBerrys. Actually, in a perfect world, I should be getting a lot more data for a lot less. Unfortunately, for both issues, we live in the real world. We all have friends and family that use other smartphones, regardless if they defected from the BlackBerry or were otherwise forced to leave. Those empty, silent BlackBerry Messenger contacts are a grim reminder that communication with them will never be the same way again. You have to resort to SMS, email or, ugh a phone call (I hope you sense a hint of sarcasm at this point). It is a slightly odd feeling, as you converse through alternate means, when you are so used to the “ping”.

WhatsApp steps up to the plate as a smartphone to smartphone instant messaging alternative. If you don’t have any sort of unlimited text messaging plan, this application is definitely right up your alley. Now I can harass, I mean, reach out my former BlackBerry friends, without racking up the SMS charges. Besides, I never did like the default look of SMS conversations. Now, let’s see what’s up with WhatsApp.

About WhatsApp

You are required to be running OS 4.5 or higher before taking WhatsApp for a test drive. The list of compatible BlackBerry models include the Bold 9000 & 9700, the Curve 83xx, 8520, 8900, the Pearl 81xx, Pearl Flip 82xx, Storm 95xx, 88xx, and Tour 9630. The current version of WhatsApp is version 2.3.2659 and has a file size of 259.9KB. Currently, those using a BlackBerry or an iPhone can take advantage of WhatsApp. WhatsApp Inc is currently working to roll the application out for the Android and Symbian platforms.

While the application is light on features, it does allow you to keep in touch with other smartphone users, in a style slightly similar to BlackBerry Messenger. The main menu of

The Chats field will show a list of all of your open chats. The application includes timestamps, detailing when the message was sent or received. Any message from the previous day will not have a time in the timestamp; only the date (i.e. 3/21/2010). Chats are threaded and displayed in “bubbles”, making it easy to view the entire conversation.

I know iPhone users can see when someone is typing a message (like we can on BBM), but so far, we can’t see that. We do have a new message notification icon on the home screen, as well as the ability to read and reply from our native message folder. You can also edit alert tones and such from the native profiles menu. I wondered why my sent messages were marked with not one, but two checkmarks. I found out that one checkmark indicates that the message was received by the server and the second one meant that the recipient received it.

The Favs section is where I would find all of my favourite people to talk to- well at least the ones who do actually speak to me (sniff). If someone ticked me off, I can move them up and down my list; just like in the Seinfeld episode ‘The Milennium’!

I did like how WhatsApp was able to pull up all of my contacts from my Address Book, rather than having to add them myself. You can also call or email directly from WhatsApp. If a contact was using WhatsApp, I would be able to see their status under their name and when they last updated it. No pictures/avatars were available, however. The Status section helps you manage your status, whether it is available, busy or “indisposed”. WhatsApp offers 11 statuses to choose from, with the ability to add your own. You can also edit, delete or move statuses as well.

Conclusion

As it stands, WhatsApp definitely has the basics down. I could see a lot of additions they could make to future builds, if they want to offer a robust messenger. They are currently working on the ability to send files, but I would like to see group chats and images to start. All in due time I suppose. WhatsApp offers a 30 day free trial before purchasing the application for an annual price of $1.99.For more information, head over to WhatsApp.com.

Pros

  • Chat with iPhone users, messenger style
  • Does not use SMS

Cons

  • Very limited features

More Info

Reader comments

Review: WhatsApp Messenger for BlackBerry Smartphones

38 Comments

You said "I found out that one checkmark indicates that the message was received by the server and the second one meant that the recipient received it"...did you mean the second check is when its read or are the server and the recipient considered two seperate entities? Why even bother saying when the server gets it, wouldn't you rather know when your intended party gets it?

the first check mark tells u WhatsApp servers received your message. I think it's important to know that your message actually reached them. It's like the check mark on BBM that notifies that your message was processed, then you get a D and eventually an R. Now, on WhatsApp, the second check mark appears only when the recipient opens up the app, and it doesn't really mimic BBM notification alerts because of the way PUSH works on iPhones, which isn't the same as BB, plus lack of multitasking for now.

Why is this no longer in the App World. I downloaded ( well purchased ) this awhile back and reading this post I see there is an update, but it's no longer available.

Go to their website, they blogged about the reason why it was removed from the BB App World.

I was told that if you purchased the app when it was available there, they would honor the purchase, since back then there was no yearly subscription, and make your app valid for like 10 years. Mine expires in 10 years.

Now u just have to go to www.whatsapp.com/OTA from your BB, download whatever updates, and your account should be already registered with them if you bought it a while back.

BBM, Windows Live, GTalk, Yahoo Messenger... I do not see the point in paying for a chat app, then there are plenty of free alternatives. Plus you can integrate most chat apps with IM+ lite or NimBuzz...

I've been using both, the BB and iPhone app, for a long time now. In fact, I started using it on BB when all it was good for was to notify status changes to your contacts. Not even chat was available.

For starters, you CAN see when someone's typing on BB. I use it daily, and chat mostly with iPhone friends and can see, in fact, when they type. Not that it's all that important, but wanted to clarify.

If anyone compares the BB app with the iPhone app, now the latter is light years ahead despite the fact that it was developed for the BB first, if I'm not mistaken. But it doesn't bother me. I use it to communicate more than to send files.

The guys behind this app are really great. I've been able to contact them on many occasions and they always get back to me with answers and help right away.

I'm sure there's gonna be a lot more to come, which makes it more interesting since the iPhone app has almost all the bells and whistles already.

If your friends are already using this, get it, otherwise there's really no point in doing so unless u can convince them all to do it.

I will try anything, I have an 8350i and this doesn't support anything on the IDEN network, I feel left out.

"Besides, I never did like the default look of SMS conversations. Now, let’s see what’s up with WhatsApp."

How is that second pic any different from what SMS looks like now on OS 5??? It looks the same.....

I've tried this app and it was cool at first but go ahead and give Kik a try. It has a delivered and read indicator, works on Blackberry and iPhones, and it's currently free in both platforms. They also have a replacement for SMS plans. Check in to it.

I haven't confirmed, but the Kik website said the app was free for BlackBerry, but 99 cents for iPhone in their App Store.

It's in BB App World or on their website.

Wow, you beat me to it! Ted from Kik. If you want the same base product, but more features and a better UI, check out Kik. It's free too. Just saying :)

I took a look at kik on the iTunes store to see the reviews and in an interesting turn of events, while the BB version is free, the iPhone version is .99

I have never seen such a thing, it must be a mistake. Isn't there some kind of rule that the BB version of any application has to be at least 3x more expensive than the iPhone version?

...If you want to have cross-platform messaging app that you expect people to actually adopt and use, it CAN'T be a paid app. I have a buddy on iPhone who was sending me more SMS texts than my AT&T plan can handle, so I told him to email me instead.

Now, I could go tell him to go get __________ instant messenger and use that to talk to me, but: (a) I'm not that important that all my friends need to get a specific program just for me; (b) If I WERE that important, I wouldn't tell them to go PAY for an IM when there's probably a dozen free alternatives!

Google Voice for my free texting... Works good enough and free. Also has lots more options. A few features could be changed but all the apps are missing "something"

when is lucid messenger coming out?
I have whatsApp & it's ok, a bit basic & I find messages don't get delivered at all a lot of times.

It would be nice if all smartphone makers teamed up & built one app compatible with all systems.

Unnecessary, not to mention, who would have it?

Somebody needs to crack BBM and release a version for Android, then I'd be pretty happy.

When this app first came out I use to get notifications when there was status changes. After a couple updates, I don't get anymore notifications about the status changes. People with whatsapp on their iphones can facebook connect their status updates, while us people on blackberrys can't facebook connect our status updates.

Yahoo messenger? Nearly everyone has that anyway, right? And it's available cross-platform, has a lot more features than this does, and it's free.

not everyone has/uses yahoo messenger (me being one of them), just like everyone doesnt have majority of these OTHER messengers. id much rather have one app that allows you to msg any1 reguardless of their phone modle then having to sign in all my messengers or battery sucking beejive just to talk to certain ppl because they: 1. dnt have unlimitied texts, 2. dnt have bbm or 3. dnt use any of the other messengers out there for what ever reason. i think the idea is on point but for some reason i cant get the app to work. it stays stuck at the 'sending text to THIS number' and the dots load across the bottom....line after line after LINE. ill be waiting for pmessenger to release another beta link for BB's. i havent heard anything on lucID, so i guess i can scratch them off my list "/ eh

One good thing about this app is that it works through wifi. meaning that if you are overseas. you can receive and send out messages. also if you have friends overseas and they have the app you can send them messages for free too.

My brother and sister-in-law and a couple of friends have iphones, this app makes it much easier to chat to them without using texts up.
I do get the 'typing' status, so I wonder if that's a glitch. The UI on this new version is sooo much better than the previous version, I'm looking forward to seeing what they come up with in the future.

I've been using this app for close to a month now. And it has saved me money believe it or not. I have a lot of friends who live outside of the US I get charged 25 cents per international SMS.

Whatsapp updated to v2.4
Now includes features such as picture sharing, voice notes and location sharing...
This app is on its way up!

WhatsApp once again released another new version v2.4.3377 but there is no doc to state what has been fixed or improved, it will be good if anyone or anywhere where such info are available....

Does anyone else have problems with WhatsApp delivering messages in a timely manner? Even after upgrading to the latest version, I always see one checkmark and it takes a super long time to see two checkmarks. It could take half an hour, an hour, sometimes a few hours, or even half a day before it is delivered.

Absolutely terrible service.

im not seeing a notification on my home screen like i would if i get a text or BBM. is there a setting i need to change? my LED flashes and i hear the sound, but no little picture on my home screen. help! :)

for the iphone one check mark qs .... if the person is online with one check mark beside . what does that means ?

is it cz is on the list of the whatsapp chat log ? did the message has been sent but not yet read ( like actually didnt open up ur log n still on the list itself )