Phone communication evolves and is slowly disappearing to be replaced by data consumption.
You continue to talk but you use Skype or FaceTime, no more regular calls especially if you call family, friends or business relations living abroad.
You can also chat/message your friends with greats apps ready to be downloaded on your beloved cell phone.
You’ll notice that depending on the region of the world you are in or the cell phone you are using, you’ll switch from one messaging app to another to contact your friends.
So, let’s tour the world of the data communication together and discover this new world ready to welcome you.
Basically the messaging apps promise you a service “à la carte” between all those utilities:
. free audio, video calls,
. free text messaging,
. and also free files transfers of images, video messages, audio messages
. Skype, video and audio chat, as well as instant messaging. You can see if your contacts are on or offline (even if it’s not always accurate). If you want to call regular phone numbers you may do so after buying minutes to Skype.
. FaceTime, Apple app built-in your iPhone. Video and audio chat are available. The video quality is better than Skype one but I can’t message my contact at the same time. Now FaceTime works on 3G and wifi. That’s my favorite.
. What’s App, one of the best messaging app out there. Your ID is linked to your telephone number* (sim card inside the phone). Chat messaging, audio calls and Hold-To-Talk available as well as images transfer. I use it daily.
. WeChat, China.
I discovered this app recently during a trip to Beijing and basically everyone there is using WeChat to communicate. So with my Chinese colleagues and business relationships, and I, now use WeChat. Your address book contacts already using WeChat will appear in your WeChat contacts list (same on Viber, FaceTime and Whatsapp).
On top of the classic services of chatting, you’ll have cute emoticons (called stickers) ready to be downloaded for free or against paiement. You can also post “Moments”, kind of status you use in Facebook. I’ll stick to messaging, sharing pictures and voice messaging.
. Line, Japan.
On your screen: text messaging, free audio and video. You will also be able to send videos and pictures to your contacts.
. KakaoTalk, South Korea.
Free chat and audio calls. Possibility to share images , contacts and location, as well as Hold-To-Talk message your contact
. Tango, USA.
Audio and video calls, text messaging, images/videos and Hold-To-Talk messages. Possibility to play games and see which games is being played by a contact.
. FaceBook Messenger
Great app to message your contacts who are constantly on Facebook.
You will be able to send them pictures too.
. Viber, audio calls as well as text messages.
Possibility to send photo and videos, to record a video and to take a picture. Also you can share your location and send a doodle to your contacts.
As you see, there are plenty of communication apps out there. Now, your choice will depend on the service your friends, family and business relationships are using AND ALSO on the phone you are using and it’s operating system (iOS, Android, Symbian, blackberry, …).
I’m using FaceTime, Skype, Whatsapp, WeChat and now the new BBM for iPhone!
BUT if you don’t have data wherever you are you have to downgrade to texts … It’s the last thing that works when nothing is working anymore …
*If, like me, you have an unlocked phone, and you buy prepaid wherever you are traveling and you use WhatsApp (when the message appears on the screen “it’s a new phone number would you like to register it ?”, say NO and your WhatsApp ID will stay the one you used home!
*Because you will be using datas, I’ll suggest to check out your subscription with your telecom operator to see if it fits your communication pattern.
*Also, monitor your data usage with this free (but ugly app) called MyDataMgr, you will avoid the bad surprise when you fly home and receive your phone invoice …
*If you own a Blackberry, I heard you will be able to download those apps through the Android shop, I will check it out and share with you soon