January 26, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka
BlackBerry is an enterprise standard, but BlackBerry Messenger has emerged as one of the strongest feather in RIM’s cap. Beluga is not exactly like BBM, but it provides the same basic premise for people looking to simultaneously message, post photos, and share locations with a group of people.
Beluga is an Android 2.1+ and iPhone app that connects people into private groups known as “pods.” A pod acts as a meeting ground for people to discuss projects, common activities, or personal communication. Rather than deal with relaying texts between friends or e-mail messages, a pod is created in which everyone granted access can read what everyone says. This makes it easier to take stock of where people want to meet or spread information to multiple people. So you can create a Sneaker pod to post pictures of new pickups, a Biking pod to share locations of a new trail you’ve discovered, or just something simple to keep in touch with family.
Several companies have recently emerged to provide similar BBM functionality to Android users, but few offer anything more than another way to chat. Beluga could face trouble because it has to unseat PingChat, an app that provides similar features. PingChat has the advantage of being around longer and working on more versions of Android, iOS, and BlackBerry. But with its ability to connect to Facebook and easily discover friends, Beluga just might have a shot by offering a cleaner and easier-to-use application.
Beluga enables users to send photos, locations, smilies, and messages within controlled groups. The app also keeps your social circle constantly updated with real-time notifications and optional integration with Facebook to make it easier to find people to bring into that circle. Download Beluga and make that next PTA meeting or family get together easier to discuss.
- Share location, photos, or messages with pods (groups)
- Create events with time or location details
- Receive real-time notifications
- Maintain multiple pods for different subjects/social circles and add or remove people from pods
- Email one pod member for private exchange