Top 10: Best messaging apps for smartphones
Staying connected is simple. And easy!
The appeal of sending messages using smartphones first started with the BlackBerry smartphone. Using BBM, a user could send messages all around the world without incurring any cost, aside from paying for the data connection. However, with the advent of other smartphone platforms like Android and Windows, there are now several messaging applications that promise the same functionality and little bit more.
Some of those extra features include voice calling, group chatting, discovering different interest groups, collecting your IM contacts into one place and more. Take a look at our top 10 list of messaging apps to find the best app suited for you.
Skype is most well-known for voice-over internet protocol (VoIP) calling, wherein two users can chat with each other via webcams. It made its way to smartphones as well, which means you can chat with someone using the front facing camera of the device. Skype is also especially good for smartphones because it can do free messages between devices with the same app, and also provide voice calling. If both users have a smartphone with Skype, the service is far cheaper and much better than having to call long-distance on a normal telephone plan. Skype is available for Android, Blackberry, iOS and Windows Phone OS.
Photographs: Courtesy Skype.com
Perhaps the most popular messaging app currently available, WhatsApp allows users to send text messages to each other over the internet. It has since been updated to allow for group messaging, attaching images and video files and more. WhatsApp also implements push notifications but keep in mind that there is no logging out. Once the app is installed, you'll keep receiving messages regardless, even if you switch your phone. If that appeals to you, WhatsApp will also save any messages sent to you while your phone is locked or shut off so you can view them later. Available for Android, Symbian, Windows Phone 7 OS and higher, BlackBerry and iOS.
Photographs: Courtesy: Whatsapp.com
Pinch is an interesting messaging app because one doesn't necessarily need to have it installed to receive messages. This is advantageous for users who want to send messages to old-fashioned phones that don't support Skype or WhatsApp. There is a limit on how many messages you can send to those who don't have the app installed however. Thankfully, Pinch is available across a variety of platforms, even older ones like Symbian, so that's not much of a problem. Like WhatsApp, it supports group chatting.
Photographs: Courtesy Pinchapp.com
While messaging people is fine, what if you want to be able to collect all of your contacts across different messengers into one place? eBuddy is an app that allows that. It takes contacts from Gtalk, Facebook Chat, AIM, Yahoo! and even MySpace to allow you to access them in one place. It also functions as a messaging app and can be used to send images and videos as well. It can also be used for desktop computers and browsers to collect one's contacts into a single place. It is available for Android, iOS, BlackBerry and Windows Phone 7 OS and higher.
Photographs: Courtesy Ebuddy.com
Fring is a messaging app that can also do video chats. Along with the usual messages, you can have group chats with up to four people and even make international calls to numbers. While it's not that different from Skype or WhatsApp, it still functions extremely well in utilizing the best of both apps in one place. It is currently available for iOS, Symbian and Android.
Photographs: Courtesy Fring.com
An oldie but a goldie, Gtalk is the de factor messaging app for several users. Even before it made its way to smartphones, Gtalk has been used for people to keep in touch with their Gmail contacts. It supports video chatting, along with Google Voice, and can even access your Google+ contacts. Gtalk is recommended for those who need to stay connected to their mail accounts. Luckily, all Android devices come with it installed. It is also available for iOS, BlackBerry and Windows Phone 7 and higher.
Photographs: Courtesy Google
The manufacturer's attempt at a messaging app packs many of the same features seen in BlackBerry Messenger and WhatsApp. You can send animated messages, videos, images, audio files and also engage in group chats.
Image: Samsung ChatOn
Photographs: Courtesy Samsungchaton.com
It might seem simplistic at first, but JaxtrSMS has a key advantage: It allows users to send SMSs for free to other Zone A countries. This includes India and the United States. So even if you lack the data, you can still SMS other smartphones with the same app provided they're located in the same country. JaxtrSMS also supports a wide range of operating systems like Windows Phone OS, Symbian, Android and iOS. Those who have Viber installed can also form 15 person groups for chatting.
Photographs: Courtesy Jaxtrsms.com
GroupMe is interesting because not only does it support messaging and sending images, but it also features Open Groups. Use the Discover option, and you can find groups of people with the same interests to talk to. The app is also quite good for smartphones with less powerful specifications since it doesn't weight too heavily on resources. GroupMe is currently available for Windows Phone 7, iOS, BlackBerry and Android.
Photographs: Courtesy Google Store
You don't need to log into the web page or access the app to be able to chat with your Facebook friends. Facebook Messenger in fact goes a step further with the recent addition of Chat Heads. Introduced in Facebook Home, Chat Heads allows for messages to pop up on your screen regardless of what you're doing. You can then access it later or keep chatting while accessing another app. The Chat Head can also be repositioned to different areas on the screen for your convenience. Combined with push notifications and SMS support, it is a unique alternative to the current crop of messaging apps and a must have for those who want to stay connected to FB friends. Currently available on iOS, Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry.
Image: Facebook Messenger
Photographs: Courtesy Facebook.com