Since its release in 2009, WhatsApp has steadily risen and currently is the king of IM apps. Its popularity was noticed by Facebook and thus, they acquired it for 19 billion dollars last year. This scared many users as there were rumors that Facebook would change it in a major way and ads will start penetrating. But thank god nothing of this sort has happened and WhatsApp is still the same and has also added a new feature of calling. But for those who are skeptical about it remaining the same or just hate anything related to Facebook, there are many alternatives to WhatsApp prevailing in the market which offer similar (or better in some cases) features as it.
In this article, we will be looking at the top 6 popular WhatsApp alternative apps.
1. Kik Messenger
Kik is another app which started in 2009 on Blackberry platform, which was at its peak at that time. Kik provides free messaging services and its standout feature is that it doesn’t require mobile number unlike other messaging apps. Kik relies on old school usernames as your identity. You can start a group chat using just a hashtag and also form a private groups. Kik is currently very popular among the younger generations.It also has a web browser in the app which makes searching and browsing convenient. If you are tired of using WhatsApp and want some change Kik is a good alternative.
Telegram is a new app which was released just one and a half years ago. It’s actually WhatsApp on steroids. It offers many of the features of WhatsApp and some additional ones too. The UI is also almost same as WhtasApp. In Telegram you can share files, images, videos of size upto 1.5 GB. That’s really huge compared to what WhatsApp offers. Also, you can form groups of upto 200 members, double of the WhatsApp limit and send self destructing messages like Snapchat. Telegram is also secure (they have $200,000 bounty program for finding security loophole) and is fast.
3. Line Messenger
Line Messenger is currently the biggest competitor of WhatsApp. Not only it offers free messaging but also free voice and video calls to other LINE users. Besides this, it has a social network aspect as you can update your status and post on your timeline. LINE’s app is available on Windows, iOS, Android, Blackberry, OS X, Windows phone and even Nokia Asha and Firefox OS. This might be the only app supporting so many platforms. LINE offers stickers, which can be termed as blown-up emojis, so you can express your emotion in bigger way. If your emotions are more complex you can shop for the right sticker at the sticker shop. With 600 million users, LINE has some sizable user base and its rapidly growing.
BBM is the grand daddy of the instant messaging apps. It bought IM into mainstream even before WhatsApp. Today, Blackberry is struggling, but BBM has not suffered. Blackberry got its decisions right and released BBM for other platforms, a move, which if had been done earlier, Blackberry wouldn’t be facing extinction today. Nevertheless, BBM today offers features on par with WhatsApp. Instead of mobile numbers, BBM has alpha-numeric pins called BBM pins to identify user. The major feature is channels. User can subsribe to channels of their liking, directly chat with the channel owner while channel owners get web interface for publishing contents. Also the quality of voice messages in BBM is far superior to WhatsApp.
WeChat, which was formerly known as Wēixìn, is from a China based company, Tencent Holdings. WeChat doesn’t have the same level of well-known popularity that Viber and Kik have, but that doesn’t mean it is lacking in features. There’s group chatting, stickers, video chats, free calls between users, and broadcast messages. Updates are pushed out regularly, and the design is attractive. Moreover its absolutely free to use, forever. The app also offers free games in which you can “challenge you WeChat friends”. While its already popular in China, its user base is growing outside it too.
Probably the most widely available service on this list, the flagship feature is free calling to other Viber users and low rate calling to non Viber users. Available across Android, iOS, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, Symbian and even Bada—and more, initially Viber was developed for the iPhone and touted as Skype competitor, which has now evolved into a messaging powerhouse that has over 200 million users across the world, with support for over a dozen different languages. The company was recently acquired by Rakuten, a Japanese electronic commerce and Internet-based company, for $900 million.
SEE ALSO: 12 Best Skype Alternatives
There’s never going to be one universal app which fits everyone’s needs. There are many other options which I didn’t list such as Hangout, Skype and Facebook Messenger. But with the plethora of options available one can even use two different apps, for example WhatsApp for personal use and BBM for work. With the backing of Facebook, WhatsApp may have become more stronger, there are still some excellent services out there worthy of your attention.