With a huge number of smartphones now available and each manufacturer or software maker trying to create their own individual messaging software, we often get customers asking how they can chat to their friends who have different phones, for free.
“I’ve just got myself an iPhone 4, but I want to chat and send pictures for free to my mates who’ve got Android phones and Blackberrys, what’s the best way to do it?” is a question we get all the time at The Gadget Helpline. Thankfully with smartphones you can download apps, and there are plenty of cross-platform chat apps available to keep you in touch with your buddies who have different phones.
After using it for well over a year now on an iPhone 4, Blackberry 8900 and various Android smartphones, I feel I should put some spotlight on my favourite chat app for free chat between different smartphones. Whatsapp is one of, if not the best messaging apps out there for iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Symbian phones.
It’s a free download for Android, Blackberry and Symbian phones, giving you the chat service free for one year – After that you pay around 99p to use it forever. iPhone users can download the app for 69p from the App Store, which is a one-off fee.
The app uses your mobile data connection or Wi-Fi to send and receive text, pictures, videos and locations, and thanks to the whatsapp developers it has been created to use as little data as possible, so you don’t need to worry about going over your allowance. Providing you’ve got a mobile or Wi-Fi internet connection, messages are sent and received instantly, and you can easily take and send a picture in seconds.
What I feel is the best bit about Whatsapp is how it automatically finds any contacts in your phonebook that have Whatsapp installed on their phones. All you do is enter your phone number and the app does the rest for you – no messing around creating usernames or telling your mates your PIN or Login Name.
The most recent addition to Whatsapp is group messaging, which lets you create a group conversation between several of your contacts and chat together. I’ve recently used this myself to create a group chat for those in my contacts that play football every Thursday and it’s really helpful to be able to send one message to everyone rather than creating a text and manually adding all the contacts.
After using a Blackberry extensively and then switching to an iPhone, I missed the way that you could see if your contact in Blackberry Messenger had received and then read your message by the ‘D’ and ‘R’ indicator that would appear next to your message (I’m sure every Blackberry user loves this about BBM!). Whatsapp has got this covered; it shows one tick to indicate that your message has been received and two ticks to show a message has been read – very handy so you know if your message has made it to the recipient!
So, if you’re looking for an app that lets you chat to your mates who have an iPhone, Android phone, Blackberry or Nokia Symbian phone then look no further than Whatsapp!
Let us know if you’re a lover of Whatsapp, or if you think there is a better cross-platform chat app out there by adding a comment below, or tweeting us @Gadget_Helpline