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Chat non-stop, for free
Aditi Pant, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, August 22, 2012
First Published: 18:48 IST(22/8/2012)
Last Updated: 13:16 IST(23/8/2012)
WhatsApp is one of the first cross-platform mobile messaging apps that eventually formed a real alternative to BlackBerry Messenger.

Way2SMS
This popular free SMS service is now available on Android phones. The official application can be downloaded from Google Play Store for free and new users only need to provide their login details in order to access their personal accounts. The app works via internet and has a simple interface. The only drawback — a huge number of
advertisements that the users will have to deal with.

Nimbuzz
This app works with both smartphones and feature phones. First time users need to sign up for a free account after which they can start adding people to their contact list. The app offers free Nimbuzz-to-Nimbuzz voice calls over Wi-Fi or 3G and also works as an IM integrator — allowing access to
Google Talk, Yahoo Messenger, MSN Messenger and Facebook to chat with your friends.

Rocketalk
You can’t do a video chat using this application, but you can use it to send free text messages, photos, videos or a combination of these, to anyone who uses Rocketalk. It’s available for Android phones and as a Java app which works with almost every feature phone around. Voice chat, receive
multi-media messages and interact with online communities using this application.

iMessage
This simple mobile application only works on Apple iPhone and iPad and can be used for sending text and images. A desktop client for the same is included in the new version of MAC OS X (Mountain Lion), and a beta version of the desktop client is available for download. The special feature is that you can change the background colour with a push of a button for a new look.

Fring
This app allows free video calls via 3G and Wi-Fi between users from different networks (MSN, ICQ, Google Talk, AIM and Yahoo!). It requires
registration to the Fring server and allows syncing of contacts from the networks mentioned above. What sets it apart from the rest of the applications, though, is support for a four-way group video chat. This app offers free voice calls, video calls and instant messaging.

TextOne 
The smartphone-to-smartphone messaging app works on all iOS and Android devices including iPhones, iPads, iPod touch, HTCs as well as
others. TextOne uses your data plan or wireless connection to function. You can share images and send messages to groups and create groupchats — all for free. Users can also choose individual ringtones for friends, change their status and set vibration patterns.

WHATSAPP
WhatsApp is arguably the most popular chat app available on Android, iPhone, Windows Mobile, Blackberry and Nokia phones, and is free of cost. The key features include no fees, no international charges, no PINs or usernames and no login/logout. The contacts in your phonebook, who use WhatsApp, will automatically get added to your Whatsapp contact list. It also allows group chats.

Skype
One of the most popular video chat applications currently, Skype allows free video calls between Skype users, via 3G, as well as on Wi-Fi. Post  registration, the application allows users on Android and iOS devices, and on MAC and Windows PC to make video calls to each other. Call quality is impressive, however, Skype currently allows video calling on extremely limited handsets.

KakaoTalk
KakaoTalk is a phone number based messenger service that allows iPhone and Android users anywhere in the world to chat one-to-one, or in a group, without being charged. You can also make free voice calls to your friends while chatting with them. It has a funny voice filter feature too. In the group chat, unlimited number of friends can participate. The app currently boasts of over 10 lakh users.

PINCH
Pinch is a free and an easy-to-use phone messenger service. The application uses the internet connection on your cellphone — 3G/GPRS or Wi-Fi, as available. Also, there are no costs for international chats. So, you can chat with your friends all over the world as long as they have the Pinch app installed.


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