We review WhatsApp, an iPhone to iPhone instant messaging application
These days, networks are bundling more SMS text messages into our tariffs than most people need or want. However, a busy social week or abundance of communication with a loved one can still push you over the limit and start clocking up an uncomfortably large telephone bill.
What you need is an instant messaging that tells alerts you when you have a new message even if it's not fired up. One that you don't need to log into in order to check communications. This is where WhatsApp comes into play.
The application is compatible with iPhone and iPod Touch, so you can even bypass your mobile telephone bill of you have one of the touch-screen MP3 players. When you first fire up WhatsApp, you're asked to put in your telephone number for 'security reasons'. Shortly thereafter you're texted a three-digit security code and once this is entered into the app, you're good to go.
Adding people to your contact list is very easy and can be done via your iPhone's address book. What's more, WhatsApp will recognise anyone in there that also has the application and then lets you know so you can start messaging straight away. The screen where instant messaging occurs is simply laid out in a style not disimilar to that of the iPhone's SMS screen.
We tested the application in a variety of environments, both with WiFi disabled and enabled. and found that instant messaging was always acceptably quick, with the longest time between IMs being about 15 seconds. At the top of the screen are buttons for either calling or viewing the contact info of a person which is a handy touch. The time each message was received is displayed too so you can keep track of your convos.
The settings tab has a nice selection of options too, including a shortcut to change your WhatsApp Status on Facebook. This is achieved inside the application too rather than having to exit and load up Safari, another nice touch. You can change your status to a decent selection of pre-fixes including 'at school', 'at the movies', and 'battery about to die'.
The usual gubbins such as being able to arrange contacts into favorites are all ready and present too. Overall, we felt that WhatsApp has been well-executed and accommodates mobile-to-mobile instant messaging in a way that doesn't leave you wanting.
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Platform: iPhone/iPod touch
Developer: WhatsApp Inc
Website/Demo: WhatsApp website