Home

Share this Story

Review: LiveProfile looks to take BBM’s IM crown

A few weeks ago I reviewed a Blackberry Messenger-a-like called Beluga. Within the review, I noted that because Beluga’s features were too similar to RIM’s own Blackberry Messenger, it was not released in the Blackberry Appworld; applications who do try to pass themselves off as an alternative are usually sniped down, like Toronto-developed app Kik.

BBM is a heavy advertising point for RIM, and a reason why a lot of users haven’t abandoned it; rumours of BBM’s transition to a multi-platform software posed the question of whether people would still buy Blackberry hardware if they were able to get the same experience elsewhere.  

While we haven’t heard anything in the rumour mill in the last little while, another app has stepped up as a catch-all solution for the instant messaging conundrum. LiveProfile is an offering that’s available on all platforms and uses many of the standard BBM features, like address book integration and contact sharing by a PIN number.

Users can also pull in contacts from Facebook, which is crucial to its success: upon doing so, you can let your wall know that you’re using LiveProfile, which encourages others to do so, as well. It also does the same with your phone contacts; however, this depends on whether a user has included their phone number in their LiveProfile.

Like Beluga, it looks to be a one-stop shop for instant messaging; the difference between the two is that people actually seem to be using it. The user base has been increasing steadily since launch, prompting server upgrades and some nice stats: even during its downtime, the LiveProfile team is reporting as many as 16,000 people signing up per hour as its reached 5 million users in 5 days. Even if you depend on SMS for a lot of your communication (like I do) there’s a good chance someone you know is using this app.

This is a big deal, as trying to convert users away from any established system is a chore in itself; these numbers are indicative of either a boredom with Blackberry’s current software or very successful marketing as the IM app of the future.

But the question remains: is it worth the download?

I’m going to say yes. Even though I’ve never seen the point of BBM in a practical sense before, the fact that most of my friends are now using this is actually getting me off my butt and chatting. I can imagine this being like the early days of Facebook; most people were on MySpace, and it only took a decent amount of friends using a decent product to sway most people who wouldn’t use it otherwise.

LiveProfile does its job extremely well, despite some hiccups that I’ll go into. It integrates its notifications quite well, and the chat interface works a lot better than some SMS apps out there. It also features media messaging in a simple-to-use package, which is par for the course when compared to BBM. However, group chatting or broadcasting is curiously omitted; this might be something included in new updates.

However, what I’m hearing from a lot of people (and experiencing myself) is that developing for multiple platforms is taking its toll on the development team. There are multiple clear-as-day bugs in the application, such as profile pictures not updating or embedded videos not being viewable.

This might not seem like a big deal – what app doesn’t have bugs, right? – but it might turn out to be a danger for LiveProfile. If too many people believe the application not to be worth the trouble, they will not use it. In turn, the friends of those people won’t have a userbase to interact with and they won’t use it. This danger, coupled with a slow release cycle (due to the management of three different apps) may make things complicated in the long run if LiveProfile wants to be successful.

In order to “kill” BBM, a company would have to provide a free service that makes it easy to share and chat with contacts, and just works. BBM has loyalty because it is a corporate-level software, not a startup – RIM is held accountable for every screwup and hiccup. Being used to this quality might make users unwilling to wait for improvements in quality, and spell LiveProfile’s doom.

We can only really watch and see; for those curious about LiveProfile, it’s a free download on the Android market. Check it out and feel free to share your PINs in the comments below if you want to chat with other Droid Lifers.

Matt Demers is Droid Life’s app guy, and writes reviews thrice weekly. If you like his work, you can follow him on Twitter or visit his portfolio; he likes hearing from fans.

  • leanne fothergill

    is multple person chat availble on live profile? one convo + 2 others and myself???

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2X3IHEKORLNVVTYVIKDNMSESGI WuJin

    Hot summer day is about to,Open the wardrobe is not yet found love
    another the right clothes? So, also waiting for? Immediate action bar!
    Welcome to { http://www.2kuu.com } sure you will find what you need.
    Moreover, the company has a good reputation, product quality standards,
    at reasonable prices. Over the years, has been well received by overseas
    friends for their support. Therefore, please rest assured purchase.
    welcome to : http://www.2kuu.com

    Air jordan(1-24)shoes

    Handbags(Coach l v f e n d i d&g)

    Tshirts (ed hardy,lacoste)

    Jean(True Religion,ed hardy,coogi)

    Sunglasses(Oakey,coach,gucci,A r m a i n i)

    New era cap

    FREE sHIPPING

    http://www.2kuu.com

  • devilman

    is it true that there is sumthing that uses live profile to go into ur phone and hack where ur location is, its a message that is currently going around and has many ppl woried?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_LXM2AUUGEVKKC2MBCL33UHSUF4 WuJing

    Welcome to : http://www.2kuu.com are specialized in offering all kinds of top brand shoes, jeans, t-
    shirts, bikini, swimwear, jacket, jerseys, watches, purses, handbags,
    belts, wallets , sunglasses and hats etc.
    Accept paypal ,All the prices list on our website include shipping
    cost,insurance, tax etc..
    $30 nike shoes,air jordan shoes,nike shox shoes,gucci shoes
    $35 true religion jeans, ed hardy jeans,coogi jeans,afflictio n jeans,
    Laguna Beach Jeans
    $14 ed hardy T-shirts,Coogi T-shirts,Christ ian Audigier T-shirts,Gucci
    T-shirts,Polo T-shirts.
    $35 coach handbag,gucci handbag,prada handbag,chanel handbag.

  • Anonymous

    Our online shop, soozone.com ,sells all brands of products, such as Versace,Oakley,Lacoste, Armani , Diesel and so on. We sincerely provide various cheap and high quality products in online shops. Welcome to and have a look! Specially, this season We introduced many high quality Versace boot and cheap Oakley sunglasses. Versace boot has Various sample color and various styles, you bound to select a pair your favorite boot. If you buy more, the price would be even cheaper.
    Attention everybody! There are many cheap sunglasses, especially Oakley sunglasses. Oakley sunglasses is not only style vogue, but also the colour diversity. The most important is cheap. Come on! Don’t miss!

  • Dave

    Yay, yet another instant messenger. What does this offer that Google Talk doesn’t?

  • Anonymous

    Why anyone thinks BBM is amazing is beyond me. It’s a proprietary IM. AIM, MSN, GTalk, been doing this all for years and they all work on every model of phone. Why limit your self with BBM. It has to come out of ignorance.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_B2QSIC2M72JOFETTNGSRQFCFRY EricS

    This is not going to unseat BBM.

  • Bert336

    Group chat is a must.. I like the fact that is instant and can see when your friend read the message. Text message is limited to 160 Characters, this one i have yet to hit a limit. but yea…hurry up with that group chat :) thanks!

  • Just me

    This app works ok, but it’s a huge battery hog. Uninstalled.

  • Anonymous

    I do not understand bbm or live profile, what’s the point? Has everyone forgotten aol? Icq? Google talk?

    Wtf?

  • Anonymous

    Easy one step way to tell if this will succeed in replacing BBM:

    Does it come preinstalled in a shipping OS?

    If yes —> Success!
    If no —> Failure!

    Google Talk still has a better chance at taking BBM’s crown than this. If it isn’t preinstalled on devices, it’s doomed to fail, no matter what the initial numbers might suggest.

    • Anonymous

      Google need to market Google Talk better especially since its available on every platform. I know people who use Gmail and Android but have never tried Google Talk. The only reason BBM is so popular is because RIM marketed the hell out of it. Google could easily do the same with Google Talk especially if Google includes the video chat plugin and better Gmail integration just like the desktop version.

  • RAED1217

    WHATS APP IS BETTER THAN LIVEPROFILE …I USED LIVE PROFILE FOR A WHILE AND IT USED TO KILL MY BATTERY AND SOMETIMES THE MESSAGES DELAYED ANE DELIVERED ALL AT ONCE …WHATS APP IS FASTER BETTER ON THE BATTERY

    • http://liveprofile.com Phil

      LiveProfile utilizes push notifications therefore there is minimal battery usage.

  • Cgmartin33

    Alright people, I guess im the only one with the balls to say it…the difference between texting and BBM ( or this app) is that the wife wont find 3200 text messages to the girl next door on your phone bill. Just sayin ;)

  • Cgmartin33

    Alright people, I guess im the only one with the balls to say it…the difference between texting and BBM ( or this app) is that the wife wont find 3200 text messages to the girl next door on your phone bill. Just sayin ;)

  • Mr.Joe

    Another amazing Matt Demers article!

  • Mr.Joe

    Another amazing Matt Demers article!

  • Sob157

    I really took to beluga as a new front to bring in those that previously served on our defunct bbm group. Beluga is very simplistic for a group messenger which I like. Ive been tinkering with live profile, I dont like the pin nonsense, and Im not crazy about the amount of features it has I really dont care for. My opinion lacking from the user participation, beluga is a better app.

  • Kameleongt

    this doesn’t do group chat though does it? i couldn’t figure out how to add a 3nd person.

    • http://twitter.com/mattdemers Matt Demers

      I wasn’t able to find it.

    • http://liveprofile.com Phil

      We are working on that should be here soon :)

      • Kameleongt

        Thats the one thing I enjoy using beluga for the group chat. I will try the app again at a later day once its added.

  • Anonymous

    my pin is LPO8LFKE, chat me up

  • http://twitter.com/xfireguru Sam

    How does this compare to PingChat?

  • yourissues

    its always worth trying something new my pin is LPEQAMBG let’s see if we can really get this thang going

    • Anonymous

      Punctuation and spelling my young Jedi ;)

      • Anonymous

        Sentence fragments my young padawan learner

      • Anonymous

        Sentence fragments my young padawan learner

  • Dave

    however ive tried LiveProfile myself, too many bugs. or maybe theyve fixed them by now who knows. Personally ive been using Whatsapp with rarely any issues

  • Kano

    I also agree with Justin, but ill try this anyway just for fun I guess, and to meet people like The DL Crew. My pin is LRQ1GR3N, Kano. An avid and dedicated follower and Androidthusiast.

  • Dave

    technically its INSTANT real time. it also sends delivered and received prompts. again instantaneous messages is the key here.

    • http://liveprofile.com Phil

      Exactly! Look at all the innovation in mobile why are we still limited to 160 characters? Sending text messages between different carriers can be for sometimes minutes. LiveProfile makes the conversation feel more live as you know that the other person is there reading or responding to your message.

      • Justin

        See… that’s just it. We aren’t limited. With all the “innovation” we candidates Synergis emails right from our phones.

  • http://twitter.com/JBod Justin

    No sarcasm intended. I have no idea what BBM, Kik, LiveProfile, WhatApp, etc, have over basic texting –other than cost. I have unlimited texts, so it doesn’t apply. Is that it? Someone please explain…

    • Mike_ster57

      I agree with you Justin. I perfectly fine with basic texting.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10215724 Raj Bhatt

        agreed, why not just text? People talk about BBM like it is awesome, but instead of your phone number you have to know everyone’s super long BBM number? Lame.

        • http://twitter.com/samthomas86 Sam Thomas

          I agree with the why not just text crowd. And with GroupMe out there, you dont need a data messenger to do group messages… which LiveProfile somehow cant do.

          I was a early member of LiveProfile, and it was painful to try and use the app. There were no users and all the features were disabled. I understand that developing cross platform is not easy, but this team wins the prize for being the absolute slowest. Month after month after month after month went by with no updates… that meant no new features, no unlocking of promised features, and most importantly no bug fixes (remember the DROID X SMS issues?). I tried to work with the devs to point out bugs and suggest fixes, but instead I got long rude and snarky emails with no appreciation. I still find countless bugs in the app when I go back to it time to time. Each time a new update comes out I leave feedback or a review (market, appbrain, somewhere) and I get angry emails telling me I have done something wrong for reviewing the app. The bottom line is, its a bad group. Whether its because they didnt get the right amount of funding, or because they have bad devs, the app doesnt accomplish much, except have a nice shiny UI.

          • Anonymous

            So it’s settled. This app is hella lame.

          • http://liveprofile.com Phil

            Sam we are focused on building a better SMS alternative. You were attempting to use the beta SMS support which is disabled by default. This feature is clearly labeled as “Unstable – BETA” as we were already aware of bugs. We have a huge product road map and we are only touching on some of the awesome features we have planned, such as groups which you mentioned. Sorry you feel this way but I encourage you to try it again a lot has changed since Android beta. I did the UI myself thanks for the compliment :)

          • Justin

            Haha… snarky.

    • Gordon “the Hammer” Bombay

      Cost, and then the fact that every Blackbery comes with it natively, unlike Kik and other messenger services. Unlike texts, BBMs are free, so people don’t have to worry that by sending a message like “hey,” they might be costing their friend 5 cents. It’s a little thing, but it’s enough to mean the difference between having to be slightly strategic about how you word things and not having to.

      That being said, this is just another one of those non-native messengers that are not really accomplishing the REAL benefit of BBM, which is its nativity on these Blackberry handsets.

    • Cheers2mo

      I figure its more useful for the hardcore social networkers since I am sure they don’t have every last one of their facebook friends phone numbers. They can communicate with them outside of facebook without getting too personal and giving out their phone number.

    • Sob157

      beluga, just as blackberry messenger allow you to have group chats with a number of people. Its a good place to have say a work group, or friend group where you can share one message with a host of people all at once.

    • Anonymous

      you can use this and others with people in other countries that have blackberries. For example, in my home country, Colombia. The biggest thing is having a blackberry. So my wife talks with all her friends through this… for free

    • Anonymous

      you can use this and others with people in other countries that have blackberries. For example, in my home country, Colombia. The biggest thing is having a blackberry. So my wife talks with all her friends through this… for free

    • Anonymous

      to answer your question besides just the cool factor people have by saying they use BBM (back when blackberries WERE actually cool) is that you can talk to anyone, anywhere, at any time. u in cleveland and you can send a message to someone in korea. or your in africa and u want to tell ur friends and family how how ur trip is going… send them a BBM or a kik etc. theres no extra cost no hidden fees no nothing. another thing is… like Demers said.. BBM just works. ALWAYS. theres never an issue with it every feature works all the time. unlike when text messages dont go thru or ur mms doesnt send. its the ONLY thing i miss about blackberries

    • Fikro85bk

      I have family all over the world and no unlimited txting package exists with any carrier. This app allows me to “txt” them for FREE

  • http://twitter.com/kn1ghth4wk241 Mike Daniels

    first