This is Kik Messenger. It’s fast, it’s free, and it’s my new go-to smartphone messaging app.
There are a lot of basic things that Kik gets right:
- notifications show contact names and the message and nothing else (unlike Beluga)
- the sound of notifications is pleasant and distinct; there’s so confusing a kik’ed message for an incoming SMS
- the UI is clutter and almost miraculously ad-free
- there are slick icons that tell you when a message has been sent, received, and read; Kik also tells you when your contact is typing something to you
- the service loads nice and quickly, so you only ever have to wait a few seconds to load sets of new messages
- the send button is in a very reasonable location, which means that the designers know exactly how I chat
- you add friends by username and not by some random PIN
- group chat is effortless and only requires two taps (but basically requires profile pictures or everyone looks alike!)
- tapping on a message will let you copy it so that you can quickly paste it into another message (great for blackmail)
- Kik is cross-platform works on iOS and Android – a pity that it was removed from the Blackberry App World, though
There are a few advanced features that Kik is still missing (voice/video messages, wallpapers), but I’m perfectly happy without them. All I really wanted from Kik was an app to help me chat with my other smartphone-wielding friends in a manner that is more reliable than text messaging, and it has performed beautifully in that regard.
The only difficult thing about using Kik has been re-establishing my old contacts list, as I now have to persuade my group of friends to “leave WhatsApp, it’s better here!”.