Facebook removing messaging feature from iOS app in favor of Messenger

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 10, 2014

Feeling chatty? Love Facebook? Good, get ready to embrace Facebook’s polished Messenger app if you haven’t already.

That’s because the social networking giant is reportedly gearing up to kill chatting in its main iPhone and iPad application (available free in the App Store) and force users to download the nicely done Messenger software, also a free download.

The writing has been on the wall ever since Facebook revamped the Messenger app and rechristened the full-featured messaging tab in its mobile client as ‘Messenger’. Instead of showing your messages, tapping that tab yanks you out of the Facebook app to launch Messenger… Read More


Facebook rolling out free VoiP calling in Messenger to everyone

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 3, 2014

Ever since launching its totally redesigned Messenger app last November, the social networking giant Facebook’s been dragging its feet in terms of enabling VoIP calling for everyone.

For users in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, this useful feature has been part of the old Messenger app for quite some time now.

Today, Facebook issued a minor update to Messenger for iOS that seemingly enables free voice calling over Wi-Fi and low-cost calls over cellular for everyone.

The update is available in the App Store so grab it now and check out free calling in Facebook Messenger… Read More


BBM updated with stickers, large file transfers and image sharing in multi-person chats

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 1, 2014

The Canadian smartphone maker BlackBerry is launching a new version of its BBM instant messaging software for iOS, Android and BlackBerry.

As previously reported, this BBM edition enables popular stickers and includes a couple feature additions, such as the ability to share images with multiple parties in multi-person chats and send larger files to others.

Various sticker packs can be purchased from the new BBM Shop, with some stickers like the legacy BBM emoticons offered free of charge. It’s interesting that BlackBerry partnered with brands on themed sticker packs like CosCat, Gilbert’s Tales, Bubble Bot and many more.

The new BBM 2.1 will be launching in the App Store later today… Read More


FireChat for iPhone lets you chat off-the-grid, without cellular or Wi-Fi signal

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 27, 2014

FireChat, a new instant messaging application for the iPhone, is kinda of a big deal. You wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between it and other messaging apps on the App Store if it weren’t for its particularly unique feature.

FireChat supports off-the-grid communication, a codeword for the ability to exchange instant messages without a cellular or Wi-Fi connection.

What kind of dark magic is this?

FireChat, the brainchild of the crowdsourced firm Open Garden and available free in the App Store, uses the same principles as AirDrop, Apple’s feature that takes advantage of a new iOS 7 technology called Multipeer Connectivity Framework (MCF).

Read on for the full reveal… Read More


WhatsApp picks up new wallpapers and introduces new privacy controls

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 17, 2014

Facebook-owned WhatsApp, the world’s most popular mobile messaging service, has received a nice little update Monday bringing some much-needed privacy controls.

For starters, you can now tell the app who you want to share your profile photo and status with, quite in handy if you’re a private person who only wants to share this type of information with your phone contacts rather than with anyone using the service.

The same privacy settings are available for your Last Seen status as well – useful when you don’t want others to tell you haven’t opened their messages yet. Oh, and this edition of WhatsApp also includes some nice new wallpapers.

The update is live in the App Store so grab it nowRead More


Massive Verbs IM update brings iOS 7 UI, Dropbox integration, iCloud sync and lots more

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 12, 2014

Despite the undeniable usefulness of Apple’s iMessage and the massive popularity of WhatsApp, many people still rely a variety of other messaging services, from the Facebook chat to Gtalk to AIM (who still uses AIM?) to Yahoo Messenger and a variety of emerging and lesser-known services with cryptic names.

Verbs by #include tech was released on the iPhone back in January 2011 and instantly won me over with its gorgeous interface that looks like it was designed by Apple itself.

It supports tons of instant messaging services, has a native iPad UI, delivers notifications for incoming messages and lots more. In todays Verbs 3.0 update, now available in the App Store free to existing users, the app is now iOS 7-ready and improved in ways more than one.

For starters, it now uses iCloud to sync your chat archives across devices in real-time – something Apple’s iMessage still can’t do. Verbs 3.0 integrates with Dropbox for sharing files and photos in chat, supports the Jabber protocol (useful for Hipchat and other Jabber-compliant IM services), while introducing a slew of new notification options.

The full breakdown is right after the break… Read More


Stickers coming to BBM via upcoming BBM Shop

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 24, 2014

The embattled Canadian smartphone maker, BlackBerry, has confirmed plans to bring popular virtual stickers to its cross-platform messaging app, BBM. The stickers will be available for purchase through a new BBM Shop section that will be made part of a forthcoming BBM app update. BBM, a free download from the App Store, has recently been updated with voice calling, BBM Channels, location sharing and other features… Read More


BlackBerry rolls out BBM 2.0 with voice calling, Channels, location sharing and more

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 13, 2014

Following a minor refresh recently which brought out a handy new Find Friends feature, Canada’s struggling smartphone maker BlackBerry is today rolling out a new BBM version 2.0. The release contains a few new features such as free voice calling, BBM Channels, Dropbox integration, location sharing and more.

The free update is rolling out today so keep an eye on the App Store and don’t panic if it’s not live yet as these things take time to propagate.

The full breakdown is right below the fold… Read More


BlackBerry rolling out Find Friends feature to BBM for iOS

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 5, 2014

Troubled handset vendor BlackBerry today issued an update for its cross-platform messaging software, BBM, bringing out a new Find Friends feature.

Whereas previously you had to punch in a person’s BlackBerry ID or email address to add him or her to your list of BBM contacts, today’s update simplifies the process by detecting which contacts in your iPhone’s Contacts are already using BBM, so you can quickly send them an invite to join your BBM contact list.

The free update is going live in the App Store later today so make sure to grab it (if you’re still using BBM, that is)… Read More


Confide brings off-the-record messaging to iPhone

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 9, 2014

With the recent Snapchat data breach (and the company’s subsequently poor handling of the situation) and given the ongoing NSA snooping scare, little wonder some folks would think twice before downloading a messaging app to their iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices.

Storing your chat transcripts in the cloud introduces an attack vector so that’s a big no-no, right?

And you definitely at all cost want to avoid the contents of your communication kept on the device itself, no? So how about a 100 percent off-the-record messaging software, one that would bypass the cloud while allowing for Snapchat-like disappearing text messages?

That’s Confide for you… Read More


How to delete your Snapchat account or change your username

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 1, 2014

You may have heard that the web is rampant with a new security scare involving a massive leak of 4.6 million Snapchat usernames and phone numbers on New Year’s Day. As you could imagine, the privacy implications of a breach that involves a service as popular as Snapchat are something of a headache.

First and foremost, the alleged hackers censored the last two digits of the phone numbers to “minimize spam and abuse”. The wording itself is disturbing as it implies that the phone numbers could be sold.

Indeed, the hackers make it clear they’re open to offering the uncensored database to third-parties such as “security researchers from around the world, professors from various universities, private investigators and attorneys”.

Say someone scanned the leaked Snapchat database and obtained your Snapchat username along with a phone number tied to your account. You should care because your phone number reveals your approximate geographical location (the country code).

More importantly, knowing your phone number allows them – “them” being nefarious users – to figure out your Facebook and Twitter profile names and/or other social media screen names, unless of course you’ve registered with these services using a different phone number.

If your Snapchat data has been hijacked and leaked on the web as part of this hack, here’s how to change your username and delete your profile along with all of the underlying data… Read More


This jaw-dropping concept totally reimagines Apple’s dull OS X Messages app

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 14, 2013

The iDB team very much depends on Apple’s Messages app as our day-to-day communications tool to keep everyone on the same page. Disregarding for a moment the ongoing iMessage reliability issues, the Messages app that comes bundled with OS X feels terribly outdated both design and feature-wise, even in Mavericks.

Basically nothing has changed since the iChat days apart from iMessage integration and a few questionable UI tweaks adding up to the overall clunkiness.

Thinking differently about the software, Palo Alto, California-based user interface designer Denis Pakhaliuk has envisioned a remarkable concept which has immediately left me speechless and wanting for more.

The awesomeness is right after the break… Read More


Facebook previews new-look Messenger with phone number integration

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 29, 2013

We were told last month Facebook had been working on a new version of its iPhone client with Graph Search and testing a major rethinking to the standalone instant messaging software, Facebook Messenger (a free download from the App Store).

Today, the social networking behemoth announced a new Messenger experience is now available for limited testing on Android and coming soon to iOS. Representing a major refresh, Messenger has undergone a substantial facelift and now lets folks instant-message each other using only their phone numbers, putting Messenger on a collision course with WhatsApp… Read More


BBM sees 5 million downloads in first 8 hours of availability

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 22, 2013

Less than eight hours after officially hitting Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play store, the BlackBerry Messenger app (free download) has seen more than five million active downloads on iOS and Android combined, BlackBerry announced in a tweet.

The messaging application is a staggered rollout which employs a reservation system to prevent the kind of a server strain seen after the Android build had leaked out prematurely. According to some repots, there’s a workaround that could let you use the app without waiting… Read More


BlackBerry Messenger for iPhone is here, get downloading

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 21, 2013

After months-long back and forth, the horribly embattled Canadian smartphone maker BlackBerry, formerly Research In Motion, has announced that its BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) software has finally rolled out to iOS and Android devices today.

Announced as a staggered roll-out for Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play store, the secure instant messaging software employs a reservation system.

That’s bad news for those who haven’t signed up early at BBM.com as they will be forced to wait in line before they can use the app. On September 22, BlackBerry was forced to halt the planned roll-out of BBM for iOS after a leaked Android build had caused its servers to fold… Read More


Twitter mulling standalone Direct Messaging app

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 17, 2013

Twitter, of all companies, could enter the crowded instant messaging space dominated by WhatsApp, Viber, Apple, Google, Microsoft and Facebook with a standalone direct-messaging app. According to a new report Thursday, the company plans to “significantly update its direct-messaging product”.

One of the options being considered is making Twitter’s Direct Messages the focus of the rumored standalone app. It wasn’t immediately clear how exactly such an app would compete with Viber and WhatsApp, the two leading services in the instant messaging space that tie to your cell phone number… Read More


Facebook testing iPhone client with Graph Search, revamps Messenger for iOS 7 style

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 9, 2013

The social networking giant Facebook used to irk fans with its sluggish mobile clients that used to be second-class citizens on smartphones and tablets. Blame it on Zuck & Co. for taking the easy route by wrapping the mobile-optimized HTML code into “native” apps. That changed last year after Facebook hired a few former Apple engineers like Greg Novick and tasked them with rewriting these apps from the ground up to be snappier and more responsive than the web app disguised as a native one.

Although Novick has now reportedly departed Facebook and will return to Apple, the company has been busy developing major new updates to mobile Facebook and Messenger clients on iOS and Android. Both applications are now apparently dogfooded to company employees for testing purposes. Here’s what’s in store for the revamped Facebook and Messenger… Read More


Screenies of WhatsApp iOS 7 update leak

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 8, 2013

As WhatsApp continues to shrug off competition from not only Viber, but also Apple’s iMessage, Microsoft’s Skype and even Google’s Hangouts, the instant messaging space continues to burst with activity.

However, WhatsApp – arguably the most popular cross-platform instant messaging solution – has yet to update its iPhone client with iOS 7 look and feel.

Even though we don’t know when that update might drop, we have a pretty good idea of how the iOS 7-inspired application might look like thanks to iOS developer @HackiPhone who tweeted out a couple of work-in-progress screenies… Read More


New ‘Spin’ iOS chatting app does full HD 60FPS video and Wideband 44kHz audio

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 2, 2013

Doesn’t it bother you that popular mobile video chatting solutions draw from pedestrian video compression technology (maxing out at 720p, at best) and rarely provide acceptable audio quality?

Case in point: Microsoft-owned Skype, which bragged about its recent iOS client update bringing high-definition video calling – though it’s limited to 720p. Spin, a brand new free of charge iOS mobile together experience, is unlike any chat you’ve experienced before.

Three years in the making, Skype’s hot new competitor is exclusive to the iPhone and iPad and capable of delivering cinematic experiences with full HD 1080p video (1,920-by-1,080 pixel resolution, to be precise) at sixty frames per second, along with crisp Wideband 44kHz audio.

You and your parents should immediately download Spin. Jump past the fold for the full reveal… Read More


Upcoming iPhone app ‘Ping’ fuses email and instant messaging

By Cody Lee on Sep 5, 2013

There’s a war going on right now for email, and a major battleground is the mobile app space. On iOS alone, there are a number of applications that promise to change the way you use electronic mail like Mailbox and Dispatch.

And today we’re adding another one to the list: Ping. Ping is an upcoming iPhone app that packs a number of useful features like snooze, push notifications and search, and it can replace email conversations with IM-like threads… Read More

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