Chat Apps: Are They Overtaking Normal SMS?

Modern wireless landline phone capable of send...

Modern wireless landline phone capable of sending and recieving text messages (SMS).


A few weeks ago the research firm Informa, in partnership with The Financial Times, revealed that 19 billion messages were sent each day in 2012 via chat apps, compared to 17.6 billion messages via SMS.

Chat apps are cheap, sometimes even free; you can write as much as you want and know if the person you’re speaking to has read your message straight away. Chat apps were designed for smart phones and are slowly killing individual’s uses of text messaging. They will shift the way the generation communicates.

People can be on plans which offer unlimited texts, but they are still opting for chat apps. Chat apps allow the users to have extra space, unlike the usual 160 characters typically available in SMS messages.

Although, are chat apps essentially the same as iMessages?

Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...

Is Apple’s iMessage a chat app?

One of the features people believed to be important of the iOS 5 was iMessage for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, which gave users a way to send messages, photos and videos to their friends who were also using iOS software. It quickly became an individual’s preferred way of communication. I myself am a daily user of iMessage, as many people I know have it; even though I do have a cap with unlimited SMS with Vodaphone.

There are various other chat apps available for people to download and use as an alternative to SMS.

What is a chat app?

A chat app is an online chat, which includes web-based applications that allow communication between directly addressed, or anonymous users in a multi-user environment. With the creation of such devices, the term “chatiquette” has emerged. “Chatiquette” is a term that is a variation on “netiquette” (Internet etiquette), and describes the basic rules of online communication. It immerses users in a new network of connection with social rules and expectations.

The different chat-apps on the market:

WHATSAPP: It is an internet based messaging service available on multiple internet based messaging platforms. It can be seen as an efficient iMessage alternative. It does cost $0.99 to download from the App Store.

FACEBOOK MESSENGER: This is a messaging service available through the social media platform Facebook. It eliminates the need to create another user account, if the individual already possess a Facebook account. Even if the Facebook Messenger app isn’t directly downloaded, any individual can still access their messages by checking their Facebook account. Another positive – it is a free service. Every person is also provided with an email address to every person on Facebook who wants one. Now people can share with friends over email, whether they’re on Facebook or not. To be clear, Messages are not emails. There are no subject lines, no cc, no bcc, and you can send a message by hitting the Enter key. It is modeled more closely to chat and reduces the number of things you need to do to send a message. Facebook have made it more like a conversation.

VIBER: Viber is similar to WhatsApp, encompassing all aspects of group chat, texting and photo/video sharing. It also allows users to make free Viber-to-Viber calls; this means users can have access to free phone services, even over long distances.


Traditional mobile phone

What the future will hold is unknown, but what can be seen is that many consumers, especially in less developed regions, will continue to rely on traditional mobile phones and text messages in the years ahead, research firm Informa suggests.


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