When you have a smartphone, the best thing is you get to communicate with other smartphone users without having to pay your mobile operator. Smsing can be free, video chats can be free, chats can be free, provided you have the internet, 3g or Wifi. Sure you still need to pay for your internet usage, but at least, you don’t get charged for EVERY sms sent. For that, you need to know what app to use for which purpose.
For free SMS between most smartphones, there is Whatsapp. Whatsapp does not need you to have opened the app to start using it. Whatsapp use push notification to let you know when you receive a message from your contact. However, for these apps to work, your friend must have the app installed too. The good news is, Whatsapp can be installed in the iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Nokia, so you have a larger network of contacts that you can send sms to using this. Er what happened to Winmo? The cool thing about Whatsapp is it allows group chat, and even more cool is it allows you to send MMS, that means you can send a photo, a video, and audio note, share a contact or share a location. Now I don’t have to pay RM0.50 to send a freaking picture to my sister. Very unfortunate is this is not a free app, it cost USD0.99. Sometimes, it’s free on special occasions. Get yours here.
Viber is another must have in my app list, but this app is exclusive for iPhone users only. Viber is basically for SMS AND Voice calls. It automatically populates your phone contact to let you know who has got Viber once yours is activated, so you can call and contacts when you are on both 3G and Wifi. Viber is free so it’s a plus plus. Ger Viber here.
Tango is awesome and is the alternative to FaceTime. As you know, Facetime doesn’t work on 3g and that sucks. My sis uses an iPhone 4 and she doesn’t have Wifi at home. How do I Facetime with her? Tango is the answer. Like the previous two apps, you don’t need to sign in to Tango to work. When someone call, it will automatically ring. With Tango you can opt for voice only or video call. I find the Video call really clear, even on 3G. My parents were so happy chatting with me on this just using 3G. Tango supports both the iPhone and Android and it’s FREE! Get it now.
Vtok is really a video chat app for Google users. With Vtok you can do video chat with someone signed in on Gmail on their PC, so that’s the cool part. With devices, it can be buggy at times. Like when I call the iPad from the iPhone, the iPad doesn’t ring or show any calls coming in even though Vtok is running. It works the other way round though. Due to this buggyness, this is not my fav app. I use it very rarely as their are other apps that can do better. This app can let you do text chat as well with other google users. Well it is free and available for both iPhone and Android.
Fring is really a multi platform chat app that can do video calls and calls with a fee called Fringout. I don’t use Fringout but really only use Fring if I want to chat with people on MSN, Yahoo, Google and Facebook all at the same time. It’s like my alternative to Digsby on the PC or Adium on the Mac. Fring also does video chats though until now I have yet to get it to work. It is hard to know if the other person is on PC with camera or not. Unlike Tango when it’s installed on the iPhone which definitely has a camera. Fring also doesn’t work if you don’t sign in just like your regular chat software on your desktop computer. It can be used on iPhone, Android and Nokia Symbian. Get it here.
Skype only works with other skype users for free, unless you use Skypeout which you can call other phone numbers for a free. I won’t say it’s really cheap. For example sms costs about 30sen. Can’t really compete with local providers. But Skype is good for chatting with iphone, android and blackberry with PC and Mac users. I haven’t tried video calls on Skype mobile as most of my contacts aren’t even on Skype.
Finally the very exclusive Facetime. Facetime is available for ios users, for iPhones, iPod touch, iPad 2 and Macbooks. I still find Facetime to be too cool despite the fact that it can’t be used in 3g. Hopefully there will soon be a workaround to that lack. Anyways, Facetime is really only for video calls. Your contact list will show who’s on it. It’s lacking now as most people are not always on wifi. If only Facetime
can be used anytime like voice calls can.