How to use BlackBerry Messenger
One of the big selling points about BlackBerry phones is the built in Messenger app, which is a simple, secure and free way to share instant text messages with other BlackBerry users.
It’s popular because it’s easy to use, and you can create conference chats with several contacts or send files all from within the app.
If you haven’t used a BlackBerry before, setting up BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) is simple – so long as you have a data connection (i.e. 3G or WiFi) it should be already activated and on your account. Just click on the BBM icon, select a contact, and just start chatting.
Swap BBM PINs by tapping your phones together
Find your contacts
The tricky part is adding those contacts in the first place. Only BlackBerry owners can currently use BBM, and to add them to your contact lists you’ll need to know their email address or PIN number – you can find yours by going to Options>Status.
You can publish your PIN anywhere you want, and there are many websites set up as ‘PIN Exchanges’ to encourage BlackBerry owners to chat with each other.
You should be very wary about using these, though, as you’ll be giving relatively sensitive contact information to complete strangers.
Add your contacts
There are two other ways to add contacts too.
Firstly, you can scan a QR code with their contact details in. You can generate yours by going to My Profile>Show>PIN Barcode. This image can be printed out, emailed or added to a web page – whether it’s on paper or screen, all someone has to do is open BBM, point their BlackBerry phone at it and hit the Scan button.
Secondly, newer models like the Bold 9900 and 9930 have near field communications (NFC) technology built in. This short range radio transmission enables you to swap BBM PINs with someone else just by tapping your phones together (not too hard, of course).
BBM is also built into other apps on the BlackBerry, like Foursquare. This means you can send updates to your BlackBerry contacts without opening the BBM app, but rather from whatever you’re doing at the time.
What if a friend doesn’t have a BlackBerry?
Don’t worry, you can still chat with iPhone or Android users for free using other messenger apps, like Skype. Even better are ‘cross platform’ messaging tools, like WhatsApp and BeeJive. These let you use Google Chat, BBM, Apple’s Messenger and MSN all from the same client.
To use BBM everyone in the chat will still need to be using a BlackBerry, though.
You might also like to read:
- How to choose your web browser
- How to make the most of Siri
- What are PDF files and how do you use them?
- LG Optimus 4X weighs into the smartphone wars
- How to snap and share photos with Instagram