One of the best parts about Android is that you can swap out your default messenger app to whichever app you like.
Over the last few years, we’ve obviously seen a shift away from SMS and MMS based communications. Today, you’re just as likely to message your friends on Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp as you are to text them.
With that in mind, we got our editorial team together and ranked the top 5 best messenger apps currently available for Android today.
Note: these apps have been picked in no particular order.
BBM (BlackBerry Messenger)
BBM arrived on Android after months of delays and anticipation. The reaction of Android users was fairly low-key after months of waiting.
It’s nowhere close to being the most popular messaging app for Android. However, there’s no doubt that BBM is a fantastic messenger app.
BBM was all but dead on the Blackberry platform until two years ago when the company decided to revive itself on Android. Since then, it has gained a small (but loyal) following. The app itself is surprisingly good. Some of the key features that distinguish it from other messengers include:
-Always-on platform that keeps the app loaded into your memory at all times, which means it tends to open more quickly than other messengers.
-You can use the BlackBerry Voice feature to call contacts
-File sharing is available for files, documents, voice notes, images, and photos
Overall, it’s a well-built messenger app that is fast and stable. The only real restriction is that your friends need to have BBM installed on their devices. Fortunately, BBM is available on Android, BlackBerry, and iPhone – so you’re covered on all three platforms.
Download BBM for free from the Google Play Store here.
Facebook Messenger may be the most popular messaging app in the world today. Instead of awkwardly asking your new Facebook friend for her number, you can just message her through Messenger instead. With over 1 billion Facebook users, everybody you know already uses this app.
Cool Messenger features include the ability to place free voice and video calls, use stickers and emojis, send gifs, send photos, send files, and more.
I honestly can’t think of something that Messenger can’t do. It’s “Chat Heads” thing that gets placed on your Android desktop can also be pretty handy if you don’t want to go through the hassle of opening the app every time.
The only real downside of Messenger is its lack of customization options and its inability to control many settings. Still, most people will be happy with the defaults.
Download Facebook Messenger for free here.
Another big player in the Messenger world for Android is Google Hangouts. Most people who use Android, Gmail, or Google+ will already have Google Hangouts, which means that your contacts probably already have it.
Hangouts has all the bells and whistles you’d expect to find on an Android messenger, including messaging, free voice calling, free video chatting, and the ability to add your SMS conversations to the app (which is useful for communicating with iPhone users).
Other features include emojis, stickers, gifs, and the ability to send your location data.
If for some reason you don’t already have Hangouts, here’s the Google Hangouts download link.
WhatsApp is one of the few apps in history that has over one billion downloads. Today, WhatsApp is owned by Facebook but remains one of the most iconic messaging apps in the world today.
Using WhatsApp, you can create group chats or individual chats with just about anyone. It’s also got that sexy material design look and is continuously updated with new features.
The momentum for WhatsApp continues to grow. It’s especially popular outside North America – so if you have lots of friends you met while traveling, then WhatsApp might be the best way to keep in touch.
WhatsApp is free, but you’ll need to pay $1 USD per year after the first year. Download it here.
It won’t be able to handle your SMS or other messaging chats, but if you want smooth voice and video communication over your mobile device, Skype is one of the best.
Of course, you can use Skype to SMS contacts in your address book. Most people never use these features, but they’re there if you need them. You can also pay extra to call landlines and use Skype as your total communication tool.
At the same time, Skype can be used to send files like documents and videos. Oh, and there are group conversions, animated emojis, and the ability to install Skype on multiple apps.
It’s also totally free to use (with the exception of landline calling or setting up your own number).
Download Skype for free here.