How do you communicate with your friends and family when you’re not talking face to face? What is your default medium of communication? Text/SMS? Voice call? Back in the day everyone was raving about text messaging. From around 2003 to 2010, text messaging was definitely the “in” thing. But does that still apply today?

What made texting a popular means of communication? It’s easy and fast. It’s cheap. There’s not much more one could want from a quick form of communication.

 

Has the next big thing arrived?

It might very well be the “next big things”. As early as August 2011, analysts were already looking at the impending demise of text messaging. In an article published by CNN Money, the smartphone and all its features was pinpointed as the culprit. To quote:

“Dozens of smartphone applications offer “free” text messaging services, which allow wireless customers to send and receive texts by piggybacking on their existing data plans. That means people who download those apps — such as GroupMe, Google Voice, Disco, Beluga, Kik and WhatsApp — are able to bypass the expensive texting plans offered by wireless companies.”

The Best IM Apps

Indeed, with the proliferation of apps that allow you to send text messages, photos, and even make voice calls using your data plan or Wi-Fi, why would you spend extra money on text messaging?

If you’re late to the app messaging party-we’ve highlighted the best ones currently out there:

Whatsapp

Probably the most popular app messaging service out there. Available across most platforms and free to download – it’s easy to see why the app has become so popular. Send free text messages, images and audio anywhere you have a data connection. WhatsApp even has group chat function and you can see when people have read your messages. Just to top things off you can also share locations.

Viber

With over a billion messages being sent through Viber per month-it’s a relatively small player in this market but growing quickly. Simple clean UI, free to download and free to send messages – this great little app will wipe the costs of texts off your mobile plan in no time at all. Again-available across almost all platforms except Nokia at the moment.

Skype

Not it’s original purpose, but the easy and free IM service that’s bundled with the Skype apps means it’s also a popular choice for free messaging on your phone. With the company recently having been purchased by Microsoft for over $8 Billion and having more than 600 Million users globally, messaging with Skype is a great alternative to texting. The huge popularity also means that you’re able to reach a lot of friends you might not be able to IM on Viber and Whatsapp. The company’s huge user base also means their app is available on all platforms.

 

[Image via ox-jc-xo.deviantart]