Aside from checking email, Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Another popular task that we do on our smartphones is message our friends and family. While some of us are still heavy users of text messaging (SMS) many people use Instant Messaging instead. Back in the day most of us used AIM or Yahoo! Messenger. Well now those services have kind of been left behind, and we have plenty of new ones to use. Today we'll be talking about the top 10 IM apps for Android. If you think we've missed one, feel free to let us know in the comments.
Textplus is an app that's been around, for what seems like ever. I remember when I used to use it on my iPod Touch before I made the jump onto the OG Droid in 2009. Textplus basically gives you a separate number from your phone number and allows anyone to text it. So people without smartphones can text you at that number as well. It's simple and straight forward.
9. Palringo Group Messaging
Looking for a group messaging app that is holo-fied? Palringo seems to be a good choice. It features group chatting, voice messaging, picture messaging, and so much more. There are free and premium versions of the app. And as expected, the premium version has many more features than the free version.
Nimbuzz is another one that's been around for quite a while as well. Nimbuzz allows you to call people and send messages for free. Not to mention it's unlimited. It offers free HD voice calls, free messaging, group chat, chatrooms, free push notifications and much more. There's over 150 million people using Nimbuzz, so it must be a pretty good service, right?
Everyone knows about Skype right? Well recently they redesigned their Android app. Bringing more of Microsoft's "Metro UI" to Android. Some like the design, some hate it. Either way, it's still a popular multi-platform IM service that features video calls. Did I mention it's free?
6. eBuddy Messenger
eBuddy messenger does look a bit dated, but it does get the job done. It features Google's C2DM (that's Cloud to Device Messaging, a.k.a. Push notifications), simultaneously chat or IM with your friends on MSN, Windows Live Messenger, Facebook, Yahoo, MySpace, Gtalk/Hangouts, ICQ, AIM, and Hyves. Man that's a lot of services. That's not even half of the feature list for this app.
5. Kik Messenger
Kik is one of those that started out a few years ago and slowly grown to a huge platform. Just looking at it on the Play Store, over 200 thousand people have +1'd it on Google+. That's a lot of people. Not to mention nearly 50 million people have downloaded it. Kik is just like any other IM service out there, it allows you to send messages to other people, have group chats and more. But the app is pretty fast and fluid, not to mention it looks nice.
IM+ is another IM app I used to use on iOS before I made the jump to Android a few years ago. It was a really nicely designed app, and when it made it's way to Android it brought the Android design guidelines with it. Although the screenshots on the Play Store look like the Developer is using a Honeycomb device. IM+ allows you to chat with people on so many networks including Facebook, Google Talk/Hangouts, AIM, Jabber and much more.
3. Facebook Messenger
I know not everyone uses Facebook still. But Facebook Messenger is probably Facebook's best built app. This is one of the messaging apps I have on my phones and tablets. I really love the chat heads feature. So I can reply to my friends and family while I'm in another app without having to leave the app and go back to it. Chat Heads is probably Facebook's best idea ever.
Formally known as Google Talk, Hangouts was Google's attempt at bringing all their messaging platforms into one place. Although it still needs work, it's still a great app and service. I use it daily on just about every device from laptops to tablets to smartphones. It makes it easy to communicate with other AH staff members, especially since we are all in different parts of the world. Hangouts has group chat, video chat, and you can even send pictures quickly and easily.
Whatsapp has finally gone holo. This is another one of my messaging apps of choice. Whatsapp is a great cross-platform messaging service that has been around forever. It's actually become the biggest messaging platform around. Just on Android it's nearly at 500 million downloads. It allows you to send pictures, videos, links, voice messages, and so much more. In addition to group chats.