With 3G data connection being popular for smartphone users these days, mobile messaging apps are also on the rise. Why not? You can bypass SMS and voice call charges especially when you’re communicating with people from across the globe.
There are a lot of mobile messaging apps available already that it’s hard to switch to another one. However, it’s also hard to find one that could fit all your needs or have all the features you want. Well, there’s WeChat and its 300 million users since 2011.
WeChat is a new player in the local scene (number 1 in China) that can take on all messaging apps that are popular here right now. It has a lot of features that you won’t find in a single app, including things you probably won’t expect from a messaging app. It is available in iOS, Android, Windows, BlackBerry, and even Symbian and will also run on WiFi.
You can register using your Facebook ID or your phone number and you can also log out if you want. Adding friends is done by looking at Contacts on your phone or Facebook, scanning QR codes, sharing WeChat IDs, or you can even look for WeChat users within your area if you’re feeling lonely.
Now on to Messaging. WeChat allows your typical one-on-one chat or you can also do group chat, with a tons of emoticons, custom animations and emoji art available. There’s even a built-in 6-sided dice and rock-paper-scissors feature that you can use on your chat, say for example deciding who gets to choose where to eat. What I sorely miss from this app, which I hope they can add soon, is a way for you to tell that your message has been successfully sent and read by the recipient.
Aside from messaging, you can also do voice chat or group voice chat. You can also leave voice messages or use it like a walkie-talkie if you don’t feel like being on the phone all the time. It also supports HD video calling which is not available in popular messaging apps out there.
There’s also a social aspect on the app called Moments, which is like photo stream from iOS. You can share your photos (say for instance your vacation photos) to a group of people with this feature which is easier rather than uploading to Facebook and setting permissions.
As you can see, WeChat combines all features found in a lot of messaging apps into one neat and easy-to-use package and this is how it plans to rise above the others. It has conquered China but is now set to break into the international scene.