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This article was published on September 14, 2013

    6 messaging services with apps for desktop and mobile

    6 messaging services with apps for desktop and mobile Image by: angelo gilardelli
    Josh Ong
    Story by

    Josh Ong

    Josh Ong is the US Editor at The Next Web. He previously worked as TNW's China Editor and LA Reporter. Follow him on Twitter or email him a Josh Ong is the US Editor at The Next Web. He previously worked as TNW's China Editor and LA Reporter. Follow him on Twitter or email him at [email protected].

    Mobile messengers are all the rage now. That and stickers. But most of us still spend plenty of time at our computers, so being able to message across PC and mobile platforms is a feature that has been overlooked all too often by service providers.

    Plenty of messaging services, such as Google Hangouts, operate from within a browser, but only a few have native applications for either PC or Mac. Here are six that do.

    The following products run the spectrum from consumer to business oriented service, so hopefully, you’ll find something that works for you. None of them exactly fit my needs and preferences yet, but they do make it easier to communicate and work remotely than ever before.

    ViberViber

    Windows | OS X | iOS | Android | Windows Phone | BlackBerry | Bada | Nokia

    Viber supports just about every platform you likely have, and some that you likely don’t. You can hold voice and video calls and send stickers and photos.

    The unique thing about Viber is you’ll need a phone number to use it, as the service doesn’t employ separate logins and usernames. Viber also requires that you activate it on a mobile device before using the PC or Mac clients.

    Viber hit 200 million users earlier this year. With a user base that size, quite a few of your friends have probably signed up for it.

    ➤ Viber

    viber-2

    logo_250Hipchat

    Windows (beta) | OS X | Linux (beta) | iOS | Android

    Hipchat is designed for remote team collaboration, so it’s not your typical consumer messaging service. The free plan allows a team of up to five users, additional costs $2 per user per month.

    The service is lightning fast and has a clean look to it, but it has limited utility. It lacks some of the co-working features of Convo and Yammer without offering the openness of a consumer service.

    Drag-and-drop file sharing, Twitter and Youtube previews, 256-bit SSL encryption and Zendesk integration make Hipchat a handy tool for small startup teams, but it doesn’t fit into my workflow.

    ➤ Hipchat

    hipchat-2

    skype-logo-placeholderSkype

    Windows | OS X | Linux | iOS | Android | Windows Phone | BlackBerry

    Skype is one of the oldest messaging services still around today, and it shows. It’s great for video and voice calls, so I’ve suffered through crippling application bugs and non-sensical interfaces, but it’s never gained traction for me as a messenger. Adding a new contact, if you can find them at all in Skype’s incomplete search results, sometimes takes minutes to come through to the other side.

    Microsoft’s ownership of Skype has helped it gain a wider reach, but the company has still been slow to fix some of the design and speed issues that plague the service.

    ➤ Skype

    skype-3

    facebook-messengerFacebook Messenger

    Windows | iOS | Android | BlackBerry

    The pro to Facebook Messenger is that just about everyone you know is probably already using it. Unfortunately for most of us, that’s also a con. Another con is the omission of a desktop client for Mac.

    Facebook Messenger’s iOS app can also be quite buggy. I’m probably the exception, but it crashes about 25 percent of the time when I’m using it.

    ➤ Facebook Messenger

    facebookmessenger-2

    Line_LogoLine

    Windows | OS X | iOS | Android | Windows Phone | BlackBerry | Asha

    Line hasn’t yet hit it big with folks in the West, but it’s massive in Asia. At 200 million downloads, it’s roughly the size of Viber. The app supports voice, video, photos and stickers. If you’ve caught the sticker bug, Line has a huge selection.

    The visual style of Line feels a bit kiddy, but it’s all part of the quirky personality behind the service.

    ➤ Line

    line-2

    moped

    Moped

    OS X | iOS | Android

    Berlin-based Moped is still missing Windows support, but it does have a new Mac app that makes it eligible for this list. The business-focused service relies on Dropbox for file sharing, though it plans to add integration with Box and Google Drive down the road. Moped accepts sign-ins through Google and LinkedIn.

    One word of warning: when I invited a colleague to chat with me on Moped, he got stuck in a login loop that wouldn’t let him sign up or log in. He was not happy.

    ➤ Moped

    moped-2

    aimRetro bonus: AIM

    Windows | OS X | iOS | Android

    AIM technically fits the requirements for a cross-platform messenger, but AOL has done such a poor job keeping up with the times, that I can’t recommend it in good conscience unless you’re looking for a dash of nostalgia.

    ➤ AIM

    aim-2

    Headline image credit: iStock

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