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WhatsApp doesn’t do anything fancy, but it does one thing really well. It’s a text-messaging service that lets you text whomever you want on the WhatsApp network, as much as you want, and all for free.
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We don’t know about you, but we at The Recapp love to text. Got a question for your friend? Text it. Want to tell your honey that you’re on your way home from work? Text it. Catching up with a friend? Well, you get the idea.
The Recapp team isn’t alone with its SMS habits, though. According to the Pew Research Center, cell-phone users ages 18 to 24 (the age range that texts most often) send about 109.5 messages per day, or 3,200 texts per month. Addressing this high demand, WhatsApp improves upon default-texting functionality and offers unlimited, free texting of messages and data-heavy media like images, videos, and audio messages. There’s simply an initial download price, which is worth it in the long run.
Once you have installed the app, you’re automatically met with a list of people from your contacts list who have WhatsApp on their devices (bonus: the app works across multiple device platforms). You can then message these people, or you can choose from others in your contacts by sending them an invite message to the service. What’s the big downside here? Your friends must have WhatsApp on their devices in order for the app to work.
Like the coveted feature on the iPhone, WhatsApp allows for group chats with up to ten people. You can also broadcast a message to whomever you want in mass-text form. Handy.
Another cool feature: WhatsApp users can set statuses. Your friends can know what you’re up to even before they ping you, thanks to statuses like, “Urgent calls only” or “Available.” You can also set your own custom status—up to 139 characters worth.
Other than that, the app offers a few more cool features (like allowing you to set a wallpaper or enable different kinds of smiley faces), but overall WhatsApp is pretty simple. By doing one thing really well—while saving you money—this app’s a winner.
Check out our app developer interview with Jan Koum, co-founder of WhatsApp.
Reviewed: Jan 10, 2012 | Mary GeorgerAlso featured on: Mobile App Usage Dominates Mobile Web Surfing, WhatsApp Breaks Record + Other App News, Also featured on: App Buzz from SXSW, WhatsApp Fights Security Flaw Claims + Other App News You Need to Know, Also featured on: Facebook Purchases WhatsApp, iOS Security Breaches + Other App News You Need to Know, Also featured on: Instagram Debuts “Direct” Messaging, Foursquare Cuts Private Check-Ins + Other App News For You, Also featured on: First BlackBerry 10 Apps You Should Download, Also featured on: Chatting with Jan Koum of WhatsApp