Can you honestly admit to SMSing like a pro these days? The infamous message icon that we used to know and love has officially began to slowly fade away from the South African mobile landscape.
There was once a time when a primitive interface - accompanied by a monotone ringtone - would scramble and reinterpret a notification which would read, “1 message received”. Oh, how excited we would get… And although SMS messages still come standard with any mobile phone one would purchase, it is a personal choice for many to not bother with such archaic technology. besides, why waste 80c per 145 characters when you can send the longest message won earth, playfully designed expressions of emotions included, for R7 a year.
Of course, we are talking about the unbeatable offerings of breakthrough application Whatsapp. This is the beginning of the death of the SMS.
For any device enabled with Android software, Whatsapp offers a premium platform of communication. All you have to do is download the app for free on the Google Play Store or on the official website and the rest is easy enough for grandma to understand.
Any recipients on your sim that happen to have the app installed are automatically added to your list of contacts. Whatsapp isnt just a modernised and cheaper instant messaging programme, it is in its own right a miniature social media platform.
Once downloaded, the user has the ability to personalise his/her own profile by including a header image and a status. It doesn’t stop with texting - the user is able to send recorded voice messages, pictures, videos and addresses on Google maps. What standard SMS platform offers all of that? In fact, the resulting user experience could be comparable to a compressed Facebook Chat. in addition, mobile networks do not restrict the quality or availability of communication on Whatsapp.
All of the major cellular companies support the application and one can even chat to friends and family living overseas - once again, no additional charges are billed against your account or airtime balance.
Another instant messaging platform that poses a threat for the standard SMS, arguably the signature USP of the BlackBerry brand, is BBM.
Although the company had to compensate for competition and expand its reach, BlackBerry still hold a confident market and holds many brand loyal consumers to its likeness. BBM gave South Africa it’s debut taste of free texting.
It was a commonplace to experience the all too familiar message tone in almost every social and public environment. This became such a reality that new acquaintances would usually impart with each others BBM pins as to enable further communication. If you didn’t have a Blackberry and the free messaging capabilities that came with it, you might as well have considered yourself a societal outcast.
Today this revolutionary fad has somewhat died down a little, allowing for Whatsapp and other mobile-centric instant message platforms to take the lead. However, the app is still an integral bonus of every BlackBerry device and therefore still has the power to render the standard SMS useless.
Contributed by Cameron Smith