Free Messaging: Smartphone Survival Kit

Smartphone Survival Kit

Free alternatives to text messaging are one of the big success stories in the mobile world of recent years. Where BlackBerry once appealed to many with its BBM service, there are now countless apps that ape this model and use a handset’s data connection or Wi-Fi to send messages to others.

So how do you make the most of these free innovations, and are there any extra features you aren’t exploiting? We take a look at the best way to use a variety of free mobile messaging services that are now available to you.

Hardware

Since many messages of this kind will simply be tapped away on your touchscreen, you don’t need much in the way of peripherals to make the most of them. However, a couple of pieces of kit could come in handy.

WhatsApp iOS

Since WhatsApp, along with others, now allows you to send voice messages to other people, a Bluetooth headset could be useful, allowing you to keep in touch over a free messaging service whilst driving. If you’re doing this, you could also do with a dashboard mount that fits your device too.

Software

We’ve already mentioned WhatsApp, and it is certainly the biggest name in free messaging in the Western world at the moment with over 300 million active users. However, it is far from the only such app available.

The list goes on to include Line, Kakao, Kik, GroupMe and many, many others, all offering very similar features ranging from straightforward short written messages to the aforementioned voice messages. Some, such as Line, also allow more regular voice calls, giving well known services like Skype some competition.

There are also some big, established names which have waded into the fray, as the world’s largest social network has done with its Facebook Messenger app. BlackBerry has also expanded beyond its own devices and very recently opened BBM up to iOS and Android.

BBM iOS

How to use it

The free nature of these apps means that you can really use them whenever and wherever you are. They can also be useful in areas that have poor network coverage but fast Wi-Fi connections, allowing multimedia messages to be sent to friends without a regular data signal.

With so many to choose from it could be difficult to work out which one is best for you as well, but really you’re probably best opting for whatever your friends are using. After all, there’s no point in signing up for GroupMe if all your contacts use WhatsApp. Once you’ve done that, you could save yourself a fair amount of money by opting for free messaging over standard texts.

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