There's a whole host of messaging apps and services available these days, with each of them offering something a little different. Our list of the Top 10 Instant Messaging Apps for Android should have something for everyone. Whether or not you're looking for a new option or something popular that you can get all your friends to use, there should be an option here for you.
IM+ has been around for quite a while now, and for those that can't quite decide on which service they want to use, this is a great option to juggle all the different networks. It's been known as a great alternative to the Facebook Messenger app alone, and with support for lots of networks used all the over the world, this is the Swiss Army knife of instant messaging apps.
Telegram rose to the top when WhatsApp was suffering some serious server outages quite some time ago and since then, a huge following has realized the app is much than just a fill-in. Telegram is speedy, secure and free as in free-without-ads-free. There's no pesky subscription fees, only you and the person you're chatting with has the keys to your private chat and there's group chat, attachment support and more. It also looks really nice since its last update.
Skype is a sort of do-it-all messaging app and as we all know, it became popular with mainstream users thanks to making it easier than ever before to enjoy online video chats with people all over the world. Since then, it's now owned by Microsoft and it's replaced MSN Messenger and it's even in your Xbox. It is a pretty decent instant messaging app, but more because it's used by the vast majority of the friends and family than any standout features.
LINE is easily one of the most popular messaging apps throughout Asia, and it's been spreading West in the past year or so as well. Where WhatsApp and Skype trade on convenience, LINE aims to be a super-popular and fun messaging app, it's really more of a experience than just a way of chatting to each other. Stickers and fun characters with their own online cartoons all make it nice and fun to use, but it's also highly functional and in Asia you can even use it to pay for things.
TextSecure Private Messenger
Since Mr Snowden blew the whole widescale surveillance thing wide open, people have understandably been tetchy about their online messaging. Telegram is one choice for those looking to not be spied on, but TextSecure Private Messenger exists solely to make sure that doesn't happen. As such, it's not the prettiest app out there, but it's very secure and if that matter to you, then so should this little app. It's free and there are some advanced features like being able to share pictures and such securely, too.
Snapchat has evolved in much the same way as many startups do; it's gone from being simple to offering everything it possibly can. Last year, the app was updated with real-time video messaging as well as instant messaging making this one of the best apps for those pesky teenagers. Sharing photos also works quite well, just as it used to, using the ephemeral model of evaporating pixels. However, with some security scares over the last few years, it's becoming harder and harder to trust Snapchat for the uses it was originally intended for.
We all knew that there couldn't be a Top 10 list of messaging apps without WhatsApp, so here it is. Arguably one of the best to use, if not because your friends might already be using it, but because it's easy to get to grips with and it still goes through your phone number. Right now, the service is undergoing something of a transition period with new features being added all the time and there's voice calling on its way as well, making WhatsApp a pretty serious contended for the likes of Skype and Viber.
Hangouts is a personal favorite of mine, not becuase it's anything special but because it's so easy to use and it unifies the AH team together. It is getting much better though, and you can even combine your SMS number with your Gmail account to bring everything into app and they're even rolling voice calling to international numbers now, too. Stickers and other fun features like animated popups have arrived and the emoji selection is really quite good these days.
Viber is another do-it-all sort of IM app and it's also very popular throughout Asia as well. It's a fully-featured app and it's been around for some time now, with many users relying on it instead of a pricey cell plan. With group messaging, free text messages and calls, it's no wonder so many are using the service all the time. It's been around for a while as well, so there's a decent support network to back it all up and it's one of the more professional services available.
Facebook's Messenger app have become something of a love it or hate it app for people. The fact that you have to have it installed to see any message over Facebook annoys a lot of people these days, but on the other end this makes the app fully-featured for those diehard Facebookers. It's got some nifty features like the Chat Heads that hover around on top of any app you're using, but really the major strength here is that pretty much anyone online has a Facebook account and to reach everyone using IM, Facebook Messenger is one of the best ways to make that happen.