Best Messaging Apps for iPhone and Android, The Top Apps for Instant Messaging, Texting, Talking and Sharing with Family, Friends and Colleagues

Best Messaging Apps for iPhone and Android, The Top Apps for Instant Messaging, Texting, Talking and Sharing with Family, Friends and Colleagues

Best Messaging Apps for iPhone and Android

Secure Enterprise Messaging with Teamwire

There is a relatively fresh enterprise messaging app called “Teamwire“. The app is a prompt, effortless to use and secure app for all internal enterprise messaging needs. Basically the purpose seems to be to suggest mid-sized businesses and large corporations a secure and enterprise-capable messaging app with a clear concentrate on mobile devices.

Within corporations employees often use Whatsapp or similar consumer messaging apps to quickly reach colleagues, discuss topics in real-time, drive work and make decisions. Email with its crowded and overflowing inboxes is too busy and not capable of these tasks anymore. Besides on mobile devices users choose ordinary and effortless to use apps, which are fully integrated in the mobile operating system for extra features. However, messaging apps like Whatsapp are not secure and crack corporate IT compliance.

As an alternative there are business messaging services (also referred to as unified communication services). While there are many business messaging services available (HipChat, Lync, Hall, Sametime, Slack, etc. – just to name a few), most of them come from the PC world and lack a concentrate on mobile devices. Furthermore, most of them concentrate and puny and medium businesses, and are not enterprise-capable. If they are enterprise-capable (like e.g. Lync), their strengths mostly rest in VOIP services and online meeting instruments. Thus, there is no dedicated enterprise messaging app or a “Whatsapp for enterprise” yet. This seems to be the objective of Teamwire.

From a feature set, Teamwire is pretty similar to the leading consumer messaging apps: 1:1 and group messaging, and sharing of any digital content (movies, photos, locations, voice messages, links with previews, etc.). A duo of features stand out tho’:

Very first, there is what Teamwire calls a visual inbox. This enables users to lightly commence fresh talks for different topics, and thus avoids the mixing of conversations in one talk only. Especially for group messaging this is excellent, and since group messaging is a major business use case, this is fairly an significant feature. Another advantage of the visual inbox is, that users can post status updates and therefore are able to lightly share news like in a company social network. 2nd, Teamwire has read receipts – not only on an individual but also on a group level. So you can exactly see which recipients of a group message have seen your message. Third, the app offers on-click distribution lists. Users can set-up lists for their team, unit, group or anything they like, and then message and share with these colleagues with one-click. Fourth, users can lightly share calendar dates as well as files. Again, these are significant business use cases.

Teamwire – Enterprise Messaging

However, the main differentiator of Teamwire are the security and administrator features. The service is entirely encrypted: The transmission, the meta data, the messages, the content and the storage on the servers. As a German provider Teamwire serves with strong German and European data protection laws (e.g. anonymizing user data, no address book storage, etc.), and all data is stored in Germany only.

In addition, Teamwire offers an administrator portal. The portal enables enterprise IT to manage all users, define communication rules (e.g. closed communication groups to protect distribution of content), and archive messages. In order to fully obey with enterprise requirements, Teamwire also supports the enterprise mobility solution of the leading mobile device management vendor “MobileIron“.

As a deployment option, Teamwire offers a private cloud solution or an on-premise solution (based on the information of the Techcrunch database). This is fairly interesting, since everything moves to the cloud nowadays. Teamwire seems to bet on the bearing on-premise requirements of large corporations.

Why Whatsapp Is The Leading Messaging App

Many people have wondered how Whatsapp has become so immensely popular. Looking at the development and history of the messaging app, the following points are the main reasons for Whatsapp's success:

There were other messaging apps before Whatsapp, but the Silicon Valley based service was the very first with a reliable app: Not loosing messages, always assuring that thrust notifications arrive, an app that doesn't often crash, etc. Its early competitors struggled with these challenges, while Whatsapp delivered a performant and stable service. With 15-20 billion messages being delivered per day, this is actually fairly an achievement. In consequence the customer satisfaction has been high.

Having embarked with the iPhone, Whatsapp quickly launched its app on other platforms. Blackberry was 2nd, and then quickly came Android, Nokia (with Symbian sixty and even 40), Windows Phone, etc. The platform reach gave Whatsapp a considerable advantage over its competitors, and the resulting network effects among its users helped to accelerate the growth.

Since Whatsapp accesses the user's address book to automatically connect friends, the entire setup of the service has become very effortless for users. Traditionally on other services, users had to by hand find and connect friends (e.g. Skype, Facebook, Linkedin, etc.). Unnecessary to say, many people don't like that their address book is copied to the servers of a company. However, the benefits of the automatical synchronization and the resulting ease of use hammer possible privacy concerns. Again the results have been strong network effects and growth.

Whatsapp made it truly effortless to send many messages in a row. To a certain degree Whatsapp even switched the messaging behavior of users a bit. Before users wrote several sentences and then sent one accomplish SMS message. Now they simply press “Send” for every sentence. For teenagers who send hundreds of messages per day, this has been ideal.

If Whatsapp is able to keep its lead, remains to be seen. Many competitors have catched up, and there are certain use cases where users request advanced features, because the app is not good enough anymore. However, so far Whatsapp is a fine success story with four hundred thirty million users.

Best Messaging Apps 2013

There are hundreds of messaging apps available in the iTunes and Google Play app stores. The market for messaging apps is a truly crowded space and for users it is increasingly difficult to get an overview of the best apps available. Here is our take on the best messaging apps in two thousand thirteen for various categories:

Best Instant Messaging App

Reason: Whatsapp is a prompt and comprehensive instant messaging app. While the app has some weaknesses (e.g. when used for extensive group messaging and sharing), Whatsapp is very performant and available across all platforms.

Best Group Messaging App

Reason: Grouptime continuously keeps innovating and regularly launches fresh features to suggest users the best group messaging and sharing practice. Grouptime is a powerful but still effortless to use app, and comes with strong privacy protection.

Best Special Messaging App

Reason: Snapchat is good for ephermal messaging of photos, and has been one of the most popular apps among teenagers in 2013. If it is of broader use for the mainstream remains to be seen, but it has very likely been the most hyped messaging app of the year.

Best Private Messaging App

Reason: Grouptime is a German company with strong data protection and privacy terms. Besides messages are not only encrypted, but in addition user data gets anonymized and no address books are stored. With this comprehensive set of features Grouptime has the lead over competitors from the USA.

Best Business Messaging App

Reason: Teamwire is a fresh enterprise messaging app with a very compelling feature set – private and group messages, status updates for your teams, movie messages, calendar sharing, file exchange, and more. The app is quick and effortless to use, and besides very secure.

Blackberry Messenger for iOS and Android – Too Late To Market

The Blackberry Messenger (BBM) was originally the very first big messaging app on smartphones. It came pre-installed on all Blackberry devices, and was a key sales proposition for business users as well as for many consumers. Basically 4-6 years ago the BBM had the success that Whatsapp, Line, Kakao Talk and WeChat have nowadays. Some 60-80 million people once regularly used the BBM. A week ago the BBM for iPhone and Android was ultimately launched.

Basic Messaging App Requiring A Blackberry ID

Generally, it is a fairly basic messaging app and similar to the popular apps out there. One difference is that it doesn't connect users by syncing the address book contacts. BBM mainly works with the Blackberry ID, and thus is most likely mainly for users with Blackberry friends. Since the Blackberry platform is on the decline however, the request will very likely be limited.

Digital Content Sharing And Design Need Improvement

In addition to ordinary talks, users can set up group talks. The groups are pretty much standard, except that you also can create events. So they are a bit like Facebook Groups. As digital content you can send voice (push-to-talk) messaging and photos. However, so far there are no movies or stickers. Besides things like calendar or contact sharing which would be compelling to business users of the BBM are missing.

The user interface is pretty straight forward, but they could have diminished and simplified the number of tabs. As well from a design perspective, there are certainly prettier messaging apps available.

The Messaging Market Is 2-3 Years Ahead

This iOS and Android version seems like a very first launch effort and so far there is nothing groundbreaking. In comparison to the leading messaging apps the BBM looks a bit old. Apps like the fresh BBM were state-of-the-art in the market about 2-3 years ago. Now most apps stir into better personalization, stronger self expression and advanced content sharing with games, music and much more to come. Overall, the launch of the BBM comes too late.

Group Messaging and Sharing: Groups vs. Lists

Looking at current group messaging apps, one can see two approaches to sharing with private groups: Groups and lists. If one takes a closer look, it becomes clear that one or the other are clearly favorable for certain group messaging use cases.

Groups Are Good For Plain Talks To Coordinate

Groups are the traditional treatment, which emerged from group talks in instant messaging apps. A group is defined by one user, who invites several members to join, and then starts the talk. The group can be given a name (e.g. soccer team or saturday night dinner), and then all members can write messages in this group talk.

Groups are good for quick coordination, or for plain messaging and sharing where the members don't switch and the communication is unfrequent. Since a group has one single talk only, the disadvantages become visible: If the topics in a group talks switch, it can be very difficult to go after the conversation. Imagine the same group talk with your family, where you brother wants to coordinate a bike journey tomorrow, your mum wants to coordinate dinner for tonight, and your dad wants to share that he bought tickets for a basketball game. Basically the different conversations will get interrupted by each other, and it will not be clear, what topics the answers of the family members refer to. Or – but also not very compelling at all – each family members waits till the communication for the last topic has been finished. Any other examples like sharing moments, photos or locations which create fresh topics in a group talk can be identically interrupting to a previous topic.

Another critical thing could be confusing group names. If two or more friends set up a group “Friends”, because they each want to message and share with their friends, I will see several groups “Friends” in my app. From a usability point of view this takes time, and leads to miscommunication.

Lists Prevail For Group Sharing And Varying Topics

Lists arose from email and social networks (e.g. Google+). A user defines a list (e.g. family, best friends, colleagues), and then simply writes to that recipient list. There is no need for recipients to permanently join. Recipients receive the message and can then reply in a group talk. The benefits of lists are clear: For every fresh event that you want to coordinate, topic that you want to discuss, moment that you want to share, location that you want to post, photos that you want to exchange, etc, you can elementary commence a fresh group talk with the people you choose. Thus, you avoid overlapping conversations of different topics, that would typically happen with groups as described above.

Since group messaging apps using lists often work with posts like a social network, these apps are often better and much nicer for individual sharing with groups like family and best friends. The user sees truly individual posts, and not another message in a group talk. Besides apps with lists often have very visual feeds, where the user also needs less clicks to access content.

The Future Of Group Messaging Belongs To Lists

Most messaging apps presently suggest groups. Examples are WhatsApp, GroupMe, Line and WeChat.

There are not many messaging apps that work with lists. The most prominent and also one of the best group messaging apps presently available is Grouptime.

Lists need to be set up by each user (for some it might be more convenient to only having to join a group), but overall they are very likely better for group messaging and sharing. The more experienced users get with group talks, the more they will see the many limitations of traditional groups. The future very likely belongs to lists.

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