The best SMS replacement apps for Android

March 18, 2014

    The best SMS replacement apps for Android
    The world is evolving. In the future, services like calling and texting will take place entirely over internet data connections. Gone will be the days of phone numbers. Soon we’ll all have usernames. Why wait to make the transition? Over the last few years, a number of great services have popped up that lets you message other people without using SMS. A few of them even offer voice calling, video messaging, and other communication services. Which one is right for you? That’s the question we hope you’ll find the answer to below. If you’re here looking for SMS apps to replace your stock SMS app, you’re looking for our best SMS apps list.


    The best SMS replacement apps for AndroidBlackberry Messenger

    [Price: Free]
    A lot of people have counted BBM out. It’s an older platform and it was late to the multi-platform party so it’s understandable. Despite that, BBM is a robust and functional platform that has a lot of desirable features. With a recent update, it’s also added voice services Get it on Google Playand chat rooms on top of its messaging and picture messaging services. It’s a very solid choice even if it doesn’t have some of the more “fun” features that these others have.
    The best SMS replacement apps for Android


    The best SMS replacement apps for AndroidCubie

    [Price: Free]
    Cubie is more focused on photo sharing than actual messaging, but it’s still a pretty competent messaging service if photo sharing is your thing. Along with photos, you can also engage in text chats with fun things like stickers and emojis. The features also include voice calling and video messages. It includes some unique features as well Get it on Google Playlike sharing YouTube videos and letting you watch them with people in your chat room. It’s competent as a messaging service and one of the more colorful and fun ones on the list.
    The best SMS replacement apps for Android


    The best SMS replacement apps for AndroidFacebook Messenger

    [Price: Free]
    We know many of our readers don’t like Facebook Messenger but no one can deny Facebook’s ridiculous reach. Practically everyone who has access to the internet has a Facebook account. That makes this chat service practically ubiquitous. Even people who aren’t keen on non-text chatting can get into this fairly easily since their friends and family likely already have Facebook accounts Get it on Google Playand, thus, have access to Facebook Messenger. In terms of sheer features, it’s among the weaker ones on the list but it does still have things like emojis and stickers.
    The best SMS replacement apps for Android


    The best SMS replacement apps for AndroidGroupMe

    [Price: Free]
    GroupMe focuses more on group messages than individual chats which is nice if you’re always chatting with a lot of people at once. GroupMe comes with some fun features like in-line photo sharing, location support, private messaging, and the ability to seamlessly transfer to SMS when your connection Get it on Google Playis too weak for data connections. It’s a solid service albeit one of the more obscure ones when compared to the mammoths on the list. It’s free so that means it’s worth a look!
    The best SMS replacement apps for Android


    The best SMS replacement apps for AndroidHangouts (replaces Talk)

    [Price: Free]
    If you own an Android device –and if you’re here chances are that you do– then Hangouts is among the best options available. It uses your Google account which you pretty much have to have in order to use Android and that means everyone you know with an Android device is already set up to use this service. The app supports group chatting, emojis, live video chatting, and MMS support (including gifs). It’s also quite Get it on Google Playhandy that this app has SMS support as well so you can still use it to text people while you either convince them to switch to Hangouts or if they decide that they don’t want to.
    The best SMS replacement apps for Android


    The best SMS replacement apps for AndroidKakaoTalk: Free Calls & Text

    [Price: Free]
    KakaoTalk has been growing in popularity. Particularly outside of the United States. It’s currently used by over 130 million people worldwide. There’s a reason and that’s because it offers a lot of free stuff. You can send free messages including photos, videos, and voice notes as well as make free phone calls. It Get it on Google Playeven lets you filter your voice to sound like Talking Tom and Ben if you’re into that kind of stuff. It’s a reliable, trustworthy service and definitely worth your attention.
    The best SMS replacement apps for Android


    The best SMS replacement apps for AndroidLINE: Free Calls & Messages

    [Price: Free]
    The first sentence in LINE’s Google Play description says it all. There are no limits. As you can imagine this translates to free voice calls and free messages whenever you want. The simple, yet powerful slogan seems to be working as 350 million people around the world use LINE as their messaging service of choice. Like Hangouts it offers video calling which is an added bonus. It’s also one Get it on Google Playof the few apps on the list that has a stand-alone desktop app if you want to keep chatting on your computer. There are plenty of reasons to consider it and not many reasons not to.
    The best SMS replacement apps for Android


    The best SMS replacement apps for AndroidMaaii: Free Calls & Messages

    [Price: Free]
    Maaii is an up and coming competitor that is actually closer to a competitor of Skype than anything else. You can make free voice calls to other Maaii users and for a nominal fee you can all any regular phone number. It also comes with voice and video mail which is pretty unique on this list. Of course, it also comes with Get it on Google Playmessaging which is why it’s on this list. It’s not totally free like some of these options but the features you pay for are things you’d have to pay for on other services anyway.
    The best SMS replacement apps for Android


    The best SMS replacement apps for AndroidMessageMe

    [Price: Free]
    MessageMe is another up-and-coming messaging service that boasts over 5 million users to date. In terms of features, there isn’t much that sets MessageMe apart from many of these other ones. You can send unlimited messages to other MessageMe users, share photos, videos, Get it on Google Playand voice messages, and it comes with emoji support. MessageMe boasts a more simple messaging experience and thus it works best for people who want something a little lighter.
    The best SMS replacement apps for Android


    The best SMS replacement apps for AndroidSkype – free IM & video calls

    [Price: Free]
    Skype is one of the juggernaut apps to make the list. Like Facebook, Skype is pretty much ubiquitous. Everyone knows what it is, what it does, and how it works. It allows for messaging support and users can even log into Facebook and use it as a Facebook Messenger platform. It supports chat, voice calls, video calls, and it’s all free as long as it’s to another Skype user. It’ll cost you a bit Get it on Google Playof money when it’s not to another Skype user. It’s a powerful platform with one of the best desktop apps available. The mobile app still needs some work but it is improving slowly.
    The best SMS replacement apps for Android


    The best SMS replacement apps for AndroidSnapchat

    [Price: Free]
    Snapchat has seen a lot of drama lately after a white-hat hacker made them look quite the fool. However, Snapchat has since worked to recover their image and they’re still a pretty decent messaging service. The point of Snapchat is to essentially chat with pictures. You snap a picture of what you’re doing or of yourself, send it to a friend, and they send one back. It’s not like these traditional ones and fits more into the same league as Cubie than these other apps. It’s a fun little experience if you’re into photo and video sharingGet it on Google Play
    The best SMS replacement apps for Android


    The best SMS replacement apps for AndroidWhatsApp Messenger

    [Price: Free]
    Let’s face it, when you searched for this list you were probably looking for an alternative to WhatsApp because that’s what everyone seems to be using these days. There’s a reason and that’s because WhatsApp is stable, popular, and cheap. Their pricing is very easy. The first year is totally free and then you pay $0.99USD per year. That’s it, one dollar. What makes WhatsApp unique is that it actually uses your current phone number as a user name so there’s nothing new to remember. In addition, Get it on Google Playit works with your current address book. When it comes to moving away from text messaging and into the data-only realm, this is pretty much the best first step you can take.
    The best SMS replacement apps for Android


    The best SMS replacement apps for AndroidViber

    [Price: Free]
    Viber is another one of those apps with a ridiculous number of users at about 200 million. The features are pretty standard and include texting with your friends, free HD phone calls, sharing photos, videos, and voice messages, and more. Like Get it on Google PlayMessageMe above, Viber keeps it pretty simple. There is sticker support but it’s optional. If you need something simple to make that transition easier, this is a great option.
    The best SMS replacement apps for Android


    The best SMS replacement apps for AndroidVoxer Walkie-Talkie PTT

    [Price: Free]
    If you hadn’t yet guessed, Voxer’s unique feature is walkie-talkie support and push-to-talk (PTT) support. With the death of Nextel, PTT has been harder to find on a reliable level and Voxer is about as good as it gets in this area. Aside from that, there is also text messaging, location sharing, save voice messages to listen to later, create offline messages, and Facebook support. This Get it on Google Playis also great for people on slower networks because Voxer is optimized to work with those. If you need PTT or walkie-talkie support, this is really the only viable option for you.
    The best SMS replacement apps for Android


    The best SMS replacement apps for AndroidWeChat

    [Price: Free]
    WeChat may be all the way down here at the bottom of the list, but we assure that’s only because this list is (mostly) in alphabetical order. WeChat is a powerful chat platform that supports voice and video calling, text messaging, emoji support, walkie talkie mode, and photo and video sharing. It’s also another of the more ridiculously popular Get it on Google Playoptions with 300 million users worldwide. There’s really not much else to say about it. It works, it has the important features, and it’s free. That’s a winner in our book.
    The best SMS replacement apps for Android


    Wrap up

    It’s inevitable that texting and traditional phone calls are going to be phased out by these services. While we understand that you can’t just quit doing them, we highly recommend you at least start using one of these services to make the transition easier when it inevitably comes down to that. There are dozens of services out there and there is every possibility we may have missed one or two. If we did and you want to tell us about it, please let us know in the comment section. Hundreds of millions of people are already using these services and the more the merrier!

    Comments

    • Brad

      Whatsapp tops it for me!

    • Sandro

      Telegram is also a solid choice.
      Viber has proven to me to be battery and data hungry… :-(

    • KillEmAllx

      I’ve used WhatsApp since a few years back and never paid a cent. When my free-year ran out, it said “enjoy a lifetime of usage” or something like that. Same thing happened to my girlfriend. Good guy WhatsApp.

    • Sharath

      Whatsapp for me.

    • Adam

      The problem with all of them is that most people you text also have to be on the same a app. Am I correct?

      • Ric

        Yup. Correct. These are not apps that can replace sms, since you can’t send it to any phone number that has sms and have them receive it.

    • Guest123

      Recent news had “Line” being able to make voice calls to mobile and land lines for free, though I haven’t tested it — if true that makes it a little more special than most.

    • adamhs

      Yep. And herein lies the problem. These apps are all useless unless all your friends and family also happen to be using the same app. The app in this list with any sense of “conformity” is probably Facebook Messenger, 99% of people are on FB anyway. The other being LINE which all my friends and family in Asia are using…

    • guy with guts

      The title is a bit misleading.

      • JosephHindy

        No it isn’t, these services replace SMS as a text chatting service. And, for any ambiguity I link to a list of actual SMS apps. #coveredmybases

    • pcberdwin

      I was looking for an SMS replacement a few months back and remembered seeing the SMS setting in Hangouts. Decided to try it since it was already installed and it works great.

      • Dion Creighton

        Give Handcent SMS a try, it’s way better than hangout…

    • http://nsood.in/ Naman Sood

      …WhatsApp doesn’t charge you. I know people who’ve been using it for more than an year or two – for free.

    • Elv

      no handcent? Why?

      • Dion Creighton

        Yea, Handcent is awesome. Aside from the basic SMS, handcent talk is fully functional just like the ones mentioned above. It also has way more customizations than the crappy hangout.

    • Jeff Hsi

      I’ve been trying out Family Wall as a service. It combines messaging with to-do lists and a group calendar. While geared towards families, new features allow you to make any sort of group within. Still some bugs to work out though.

    • Andrew T Roach

      Interesting that the picture is of WhatsApp on an iPhone.

    • http://nurudin.jauhari.net/ Jauhari

      Where is LINE, KakaoTalk, WeChat, Telegram, Yahoo Messenger???

    • Dion Creighton

      I thought it’s about the apps that replace the stock SMS in your phone… Handcent SMS works the best for me. How come it’s not even mentioned…

    • vasu chennu

      No Telegram and No HIKE in the list

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