The rise of smartphones marks the decline of SMS era. It’s a no-brainer that users will opt for the free apps offering free communication to other users across all operating systems and mobile carriers, rather than going for paid texting plans. Here’s a list of some of the best apps that definitely give SMS a run for its money.
Being Skype’s latest acquisition surely has its perks– GroupMe has been in demand. The app allows for group messaging, conference calling, and polling through an assigned unique group number, plus one can still send private messages to a user.
It might only support direct messaging for Android and Apple devices, but it has a direct Facebook chat feature for friends who are not on Textfree. You can also text from your computer through pinger.com/textfree. Get the ad-free version at only $5.99.
Free group chat for the first year ($1.99 for every year after), WhatsApp also supports multimedia sharing– images, videos, and voice– internationally without hidden charges. It integrates seamlessly with one’s phonebook, without the need for a pin or username.
Meebo is a famous third-party software for integrating instant messaging platforms (Yahoo, Google Talk, AIM MSN, Jabber, ICQ, MySpace) in just one window. Non-smartphone owners can access Meebo via computer.
Alongside features like group chat, photo messaging, and a dedicated phone number for texting, textPlus also has an integrated inbox– you can switch to textPlus mode or to regular texting mode anytime.
A serious competition to Meebo, Fring is also a mobile IM platform. It features group video chat for up to 4 users, together with the usual text chat and free voice calls to smartphone users who have installed the app.
Viber is a free VoIP app, which allows for free calls and texts anywhere in the world, as long as the users have it installed in their smartphones. It boasts of a higher sound quality than a regular phone call, and it has no usernames or registration. And did we mention that the app is fully free of ads?
Kik has a reputation of being the fastest messenger system in this list, offering the most real-time chat experience to users. It does the same stuff: group chat, texting, and photo sharing, and like Viber, it has no ads.
With Google Voice, one can make calls and send SMS through a unique phone number. You can also access voice mail and texts through your computer, thanks to an integrated Google account. Too bad the services are only available in the US for now.
Due to popular demand, we’re adding this to the list. This all-in-one messenger is one of the forerunners that started the mobile messaging app craze. It supports almost all the popular social and messaging services, as well as using push for battery-saving message delivery. If you like a feature-rich client, this is one of the best to get.