When it comes to an alternative to text messaging, Kik Messenger is one of the strongest options available. Messaging is lightning fast and it is extremely simple to activate an account, connect with friends and exchange messages. It joins Facebook Messenger and the forthcoming iMessage as the strongest challenges yet to encouraging smartphone users to ditch SMS.
Kik is a free app for iPhone, Android and Windows Phone. After downloading the app, it is just a few steps to create an account. Then users can invite others to join via Facebook, social networks, email and, ironically, SMS. Create a profile picture, form groups and begin free, unlimited messaging.
Kik’s official site boasts of how fast it is, but unlike most PR spin it actually lives up to the hype. Messages are delivered in real-time. And unlike text messaging they can be sent over both 3G and WiFi.
However, Kik will only be as useful as its user base. That is currently four million strong, which is impressive but not strong enough for some users who may not be ready to embrace another platform.
Kik also faces some stiff competition in this space, as Facebook Messenger seeks to leverage the social network’s user base for its mobile messaging platform. Also, iMessage will soon bring similar functionality to iOS devices when the newest version of its operating system launches this fall.
AT&T even realizes that its gravy train is threatened, as it recently dumped its $10 plan that provided 1,000 messages. New customers must now either opt for the $20-a-month unlimited plan or a 20-cents-per-message rate.
Kik also got the attention of BlackBerry maker Research in Motion, which essentially kicked it off the platform last year.
What’s behind this? Kik is that good. It points to a day when smartphone users will be free of the tyranny of text messaging plans that charge excessive rates for miniscule amounts of data.
- Rapid-fire messaging
- Cross-platform appeal
Off the Mark:
- Limited message previews in iOS
- Must get friends to sign up