A free way to send text messages to friends and family
Instant messaging is nothing new. MSN Messenger, Blackberry Messenger, iMessage, Facebook Chat, AIM – the list goes on.
Whatsapp does something rather clever: it keeps things simple. Once downloaded, just register your phone with the service and choose a username and display picture. With this done, Whatsapp will check if anyone in your address book already has the app installed. If they do, you can get chatting straight away.
While previously Whatsapp was rightly criticised for not encrypting the messages sent, this has now been resolved. All messages sent on Whatsapp are now encrypted, making it a secure way to stay in touch.
One of the best uses of Whatsapp is for keeping in touch with people when you're abroad. While roaming charges on sending text messages quite expensive, Whatsapp is totally free – providing you use a Wifi connection and not mobile data to send messages.
These messages can also be sent out to groups of people, so planning to meet up with a group of friends is far less confusing.
Messages can also be sent with attachments such as videos, photos and voice clips. Unfortunately, sometimes spam messages can appear, seemingly an annoying downside of any online messaging service.
The main advantage of Whatsapp is its simplicity. There are versions for Android (the one looked at for this review), iPhone, Blackberry and Windows Phone 7.5. It makes keeping in touch with people easier and cheaper, which is a pretty laudable thing.
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Easy to use and with support for sending images and video; good for roaming too
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