If ever there was proof of the popularity of mobile instant messaging, just take a look at the recent stats for BBM (BlackBerry Messenger). The BBM for iPhone  app shot straight to the top of the USA iTunes chart within 12 hours of its release with users literally queuing up to download it. More than 20 million people have signed up and started to use BBM for iOS and Android in just one week alone which is pretty incredible. So what features do BBM and its rivals offer users - here’s the lowdown on how BBM, Whatsapp and Skype instant messaging compare.

BBM

tech_bbm_logoAvailable for iOS and Android as well, of course, BlackBerry, BBM offers text chat, group chat, voice and video calling, file sharing, screen sharing and location sharing. BBM was the first messaging app to show real-time message receipts so you could see if your message had been read by the recipient. It's also regarded as a secure service due to its PIN feature and has announced plans to offer a new service called BBM Channels. This feature enables you to create your own social networking ‘channels’ so you can share information and post news for all of your channel subscribers to see which in turn can be liked and commented upon.

WhatsApp

WhatsappWhatsApp is probably the most popular messaging app with around 350 million users. It’s also available for Windows Phone as well as BB, iOS and Android. It offers text and group chat, file sharing and location sharing but not voice and video call functionality. Created by a group of ex-Yahoo employees to rival traditional text messaging, it’s estimated to generate a phenomenal 20 billion+ messages a day. As well as online chat, it’s very handy for sharing audio, photos, videos and your contacts but the lack of voice and videoing calling could prove to be a sticking point for some.

Skype

Skype-logo-EPS-AI.PNG-1Skype also has a big global presence with approximately 300 million users across the globe. Skype is available for many platforms including iOS, Android, BB, Windows Phone, Windows 8 and Mac OS X. Probably better known for its ability to facilitate cheap online video calls to pretty much anyone who’s signed up and has an internet connection, it can also be used for instant messaging and for online group messaging. Skype also has the advantage of being available on desktop as well as for mobile and more recently can be used via Xbox One and on many Smart TV sets. It also allows file sharing, screen sharing and is usually found fairly near the top of the Android app charts, it’s certainly a great all-rounder.