ChatON, Samsung’s take on instant messaging service, has been just updated to bring in some great new features. For those who’re unaware, ChatON is a cross compatible chat app that lets you chat with your friends for free and also acts as a better alternative to SMS, especially for those who’re frustrated with their carrier’s message plans.
The app has been around for a while, but it was only recently that I’ve started using it after being recommended by a friend of mine. ChatON doesn’t boast an user base as large as that of Whatsapp, which is its prime competitor, since it’s a relatively new product. But it does look like a promising app and is even better than Whatsapp in a few aspects.
Let me tell you that I’ve been a Whatsapp user for long and the prime reason for trying out ChatON was its two new impressive features that have been recently added —
Apart from chatting via text messages, ChatON can also act as a push-to-talk (PTT) app to send short voice chunks. Like any walkie-talkie gadget, simply press & hold the voice button, record a message and the voice message will be sent to the user you’re conversing with. I’ve tried using a lot of apps for this purpose such as Voxer, Zello, etc., but none of them work as efficiently as ChatON.
Animation messages is a cool addition where you can scribble a drawing using fingers and send it to any ChatON user. The interesting part here is that the user at the receiving end will also be able to see an animation of your drawing process, right from scratch to the end.
Other features in ChatON include animated emoticons (or ‘Anions’ as Samsung likes to call it), group conversation, birthday reminders and other features that you’d expect from any IM app.
The iPhone & Android tablet version of ChatON also feature App Lock, which lets you lock the app using a password in case you do not wish your conversations to be seen by anyone else. I wish this feature was available on Android Mobile version as well.
ChatON also integrates nicely with the new Touchwiz (or Nature UX) in Galaxy S3 and supports Direct call feature as well, where you can call a person you’re talking with by simply lifting the phone to your ear.
THE USER INTERFACE
Talking about the User Interface, ChatON is polished and smooth. It’s intuitive and the options are pretty straight forward. The design, however, needs an immediate makeover. It has been over almost a year since Android 4.0 was released, but the the app’s design still resembles Android 2.3 Gingerbread containing large, glossy and a little dull elements. In short, (sorry Samsung) the design is boring and you need to update it.
There are some other areas as well where ChatON needs to be improved, like the activation procedure. It took me multiple attempts to verify my number which needs to be fixed. Little flaws aside, ChatON is a solid instant messaging app.
ChatON’s closest competitor is undoubtedly Whatsapp, which has been riding high on user base as it was probably the first app to offer a free cross-platform alternative to SMS. Barring these flaws, ChatON is the most interactive instant messenger app that boasts some amazing features and is available for free for any mobile platform:
Windows Phone (Samsung only) and Bada owners can download it by searching for ChatON in Samsung Apps on their phone. You can also visit ChatOn’s homepage for more info.