Computerized Investing > October 19, 2013
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by CI Staff

Currently free for iOS users; one year free for Android users and then $1 per year

WhatsApp Messenger is a cross-platform mobile messenger that allows you to exchange messages without SMS fees.

Short Message Service (SMS) is a text messaging service component of phone, web or mobile communication systems. If you send a text message on your cell phone, chances are it’s via SMS. Depending on your cellular service plan, you pay per SMS message, for a certain number of messages each month or even for unlimited SMS messaging. However, these plans normally don’t extend to texting international subscribers. Some companies have gotten around this by developing their own messaging services that don’t use SMS, thereby avoiding the costs associated with texting even internationally. Apple’s iMessage service is an example of this type of service; however, these services’ chief shortcoming is that you must be communicating with someone else on the same operating system. Therefore, an iOS user avoids using their SMS allotment only if they iMessage with another iOS user.

WhatsApp Messenger is a free cross-platform mobile messaging app which allows you to exchange messages without having to pay for SMS. It’s available for iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Windows Phone and Nokia, so you can communicate across different platforms without incurring SMS charges. It uses the same internet data plan that you use for email and web browsing, so there is no extra cost to send a message.

The biggest challenge of using WhatsApp is getting your friends to use it too. However, once they start using it, chances are they’ll keep using it.

After installing the app, the first thing to do is find your friends who are using the app and start texting. The chat layout is very similar to iMessage for iOS. Messages appear in text bubbles and are time stamped. A single checkmark appears in the text bubble when the message is delivered and a double checkmark indicates that the recipient has read the message. The app also allows you to create groups to send messages to multiple people at once; you can also send photos, audio notes and videos.

WhatsApp doesn’t offer any groundbreaking features. Its real strength lies in the money it saves you when communicating with other WhatsApp users, especially internationally. If you are able to get the people you text the most to start using the app, you may be able to lower your texting package with your cell carrier and save some money.

WhatsApp Messenger

Currently free for iOS users; one year free for Android users and then $1 per year


Discussion

H Dornbush from CA posted 11 months ago:

Check out Heywire as an alternative. They assign you a real phone number and use sms so you can txt to someone on a phone. They don't need to use the app to exchange txt messages with you. I found it better than apps where both parties must run the same app.


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