While the majority of Filipinos still rely on good old texting, the trend around the world is that users will eventually fully depart from it and shift to mobile messaging apps like that one Mark Zuckerberg bought for $19 billion, Whatsapp.
The numbers don't lie. According to a report by Bloomberg.com, American telcos (like Vodafone and Verizon) have lost $32 billion in texting fees as more and more users opted to use Whatsapp, which sends free messages over a data connection. The number is predicted to balloon to as much as $54 billion in 2016.
Whatsapp is, of course, just one of the several mobile messaging apps available today—a quick check of the IOS and Android app stores shows that there are roughly around 2,000 messaging apps available for download. Some offer cute graphics. Some boast of an ads-free experience, while others use easy registration to entice would-be users. All of though offer the basic mobile messaging service: the freedom from the piso-per-text routine.
So, which one is for you? Well, each app also has their own "specialties" which caters to specific "needs." We break down the biggest ones to give you an idea what type of mobile messenger should be sitting on your smartphone right now!
Perfect For: Those who are feeling adventurous and would like to meet people around them
Coming from China, some might have apprehensions towards the app. But don't believe the stigma. WeChat, and its 300-million users, is legit. It has all the typical messaging tools, but our favorite has got to be its people-discovery feature which let you chat with other WeChat users up to a certain distance, like, inside a bar.
Its latest version goes beyond simple messaging as WeChat 5.1 also launched games, like the running game Gunz Dash and the puzzle-matching title Craze3.
Number of users: 300 million
Perfect For: Those bored of the usual plain text communication in mobile messaging
Like WeChat, Line also hails from Asia—in particular, Japan. So, unsurprisingly, one of the app's proudest additions is its virtual content, such as stickers that add flavor to your conversation. You might also be familiar with these characters:
It also has games and integrates with a host of other apps (i.e. a built-in camera app with filters) to enhance the overall experience.
Number of users: 350 million
Perfect For: Those that want the simplest user interface and want to integrate their Facebook contacts into the fold
It's obviously the noisiest of its kind right now with the Facebook acquisition. Whatsapp has always been known as one of the most reliable instant messengers around. Its 450-million users worldwide prove that fact. Its biggest pillar is its simplicity. Whatsapp is so user-friendly, even your tech-challenged lolo should be able to get it to work.
With the Facebook deal done, expect the app to be integrated with the social media giant like FB did with Instagram, which adopted tagging features after being bought by Zuckerberg and Co.
There's one real con though: There's a $0.99 subscription fee yearly after the first year. So if you can't spare P50 pesos, then avoid this one at all cost, Mr. Scrooge McDuck.
Number of users: 450 million