I know that many people have heard about this app and why we should use it, but, lots of mobile users are still not aware of this great tech solution for getting cheapest text messaging possible. For all those, do read this post.
The app is called ‘WhatsApp Messenger’ that eventually can replace a conventional SMS messaging + we can cut the cost per message. This app is developed by a tech start-up company WhatsApp Inc, founded and run by two geeks who were working with Yahoo!
WhatsApp is nothing different from ‘What’s Up!’
What is WhatsApp Messenger?
WhatsApp Messenger is a cross-platform mobile messenger that replaces SMS and works through the existing internet data plan of your device. WhatsApp is available for iPhone, BlackBerry, Android and Nokia Symbian60 phones. Because WhatsApp Messenger uses the same internet data plan that you use for email and web browsing, there is no cost to message and stay in touch with your friends.
Difference between SMS, Online Messengers and WhatsApp
SMS is a conventional short messaging system devised for mobile phones to be used through each carrier to deliver messages. These messages usually have a limitation of 160 characters per message (depending upon the carrier). SMS message’s route through one carrier to another locally, nationally or Internationally and all carriers charge for this service. Like one International SMS message may cost Rs. 5 per message.
Online instant messenger services like MSN, Yahoo, GTalk, AIM, Facebook use Internet service to connect with your friends using email addresses. Such messenger requires you to add, accept friends before starting a conversation. These are great yet free, but they use email on accounts to connect.
WhatsApp is a revolutionary messenger because it does not need you to do anything other than install and chat. Simple. Importantly, WhatsApp syncs with mobile numbers from our phonebook and not with the email addresses. Connecting based on phone numbers is essential and very handy just like SMS messaging. It uses GPRS, 3G, WiFi connection to deliver, retrieve text messages with friends. We do not need to buy extra services like BlackBerry BBM from our carrier still be able to send text messages.
Top of all this, we can also send Videos, Images, Voice notes, Location data to our contacts through WhatsApp – making it one single replacement for SMS, MMS and Email (up to some extent).
- NO HIDDEN COST: Once you and your friends download the application, you can use it to chat as much as you want. Send a million messages a day to your friends for free! WhatsApp uses your Internet connection: 3G/EDGE or Wi-Fi when available.
- MULTIMEDIA: Send Video, Images, and Voice notes to your friends and contacts.
- GROUP CHAT: Enjoy group conversations with your contacts.
- NO INTERNATIONAL CHARGES: Just like there is no added cost to send an international email, there is no cost to send WhatsApp messages internationally. Chat with your friends all over the world as long as they have WhatsApp Messenger installed and avoid those pesky international SMS costs.
- SAY NO TO PINS AND USERNAMES: Why even bother having to remember yet another PIN or username? WhatsApp works with your phone number, just like SMS would, and integrates flawlessly with your existing phone address book.
- NO NEED TO LOG IN/OUT: No more confusion about getting logged off from another computer or device. With push notifications WhatsApp has been ALWAYS ON and ALWAYS CONNECTED.
- NO NEED TO ADD BUDDIES: Your Address Book is used to automatically connect you with your contacts. Your contacts who already have WhatsApp Messenger will be automatically displayed under Favorites, similar to a buddy list. (You can of course always edit a Favorites any way you like)
- OFFLINE MESSAGES: Even if you miss your push notifications or turn off your iPhone, WhatsApp will save your messages offline until you retrieve them during the next application use.
- STATUS: Use the status feature of WhatsApp to inform your contacts if you are busy, in a meeting, at the gym, or available for a chat.
- AND MUCH MORE: Share location, Exchange contacts, Custom wallpaper, Custom notification sounds, Landscape mode, Precise message time stamps, Email chat history, Broadcast messages and MMS to many contacts at once and much much more!
Supported Devices and System Requirements
WhatsApp is available for iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and Nokia phones.
- iPhone: Compatible with iPhone. Requires iOS 3.1 or later. Does not work with iPod Touch and iPad (Because it requires a phone). Download from iTunes AppStore
- Nokia: Nokia S60 3rd edition, 5th edition or Symbian^3 Operating System
- Android: Android OS 2.1 or above
- BlackBerry: BlackBerry OS 4.5 or above with BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) or BLackBerry Enterprise Service (BES).
Plus and Minus Points
- It is one of the simplest messenger service you would ever see!
- It’s free for 1 year after that it’s too cheap to believe it.
- Text messaging to contacts is very handy. Online Instant Messengers are not very useful for a mobile phone.
- No need to add a contact or invite separately. It scans, detects all the contacts using WhatsApp from its server.
- Super fast delivery! I think it is at east four times faster than conventional SMS messages.
- Cross platform connectivity.
- No extra charges for sending text message to an International number.
- Possible to retrieve offline messages if the phone is not connected to the Internet or was switched off.
- And lots more…
- All its documentation says that we need an unlimited Internet plan for mobile but I don’t think it’s necessary. They should give some sample data usage break up so that it’s easy to understand, Because unlimited data plans are too expensive in countries like India and I would rather prefer a conventional SMS then.
- If we add a random number, say: +91 1234567890 in our phone contacts. A person with this number is a stranger to me, but if s/he is using WhatsApp then will I still be able to contact that person? If yes, then its a little scary. It needs more attention over authorizing a person.
- This app should be available to as many mobile systems as possible, even if it could be with fewer features.
Can’t think of any minuses otherwise.
Update: New Supported Languages on WhatsApp
WhatsApp is working on supporting more than 25 languages all over the world and is now supporting twelve languages, including English, Portuguese, Dutch, Italian - however, the company is upgrading their software to support more languages to spread its reach. New languages supported by WhatsApp are as follows: Afrikaans, Albanian, Arabic, Belarusian, Catalan, Chinese, Croatian, Danish, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Japanese, Russian, Thai, Swedish, Spanish, Romanian.
And that’s not all – WhatsApp will also support more Indian languages in the coming days, including Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Punjabi, Telugu, Gujarati and Urdu. Supporting so many new languages will only improve WhatsApp’s popularity which is definitely growing since the time they introduced Group Messaging facility on their app.
It looks to me as a great alternative to BlackBerry Messaging (BBM) for iPhone, Android and Nokia. WhatsApp is a must have app if you send plenty of text messages to friends and you want to save pocket-money to buy a new jeans. There had been reports of some vulnerabilities and security issues in WhatsApp, however, we do not have any latest word whether they’ve been addressed or not.
Update: Facebook acquired WhatsApp
In a recent event, Facebook has acquired WhatsApp for the whopping price of $19 billion. Both these companies have cleared about their stand on, not serving the advertisements through messages, however, both of them neither announced any revenue model going forward. Chances are, the messages would be scanned & advertisements on the Facebook mobile app as well as on the Desktop will be focused based on our conversations on WhatsApp. No wonder the newly announced mobile monetization platform from Facebook was announced after this acquisition.