A few weeks back I reviewed numerous ways in which to break barriers to communication while travelling. Up until today, I had been using Twitter as a means to minimise my phone bills when it came to costly international texts – there was one problem with this though, a lot of my friends overseas don’t use Twitter nor do they ever intend to.
I decided to act on a work colleague’s advice to download the Kik Messenger application on my iPhone4. Kik is a free smartphone to smartphone, real-time texting application (similar to BlackBerry Messenger) that works across several platforms: iPhone, iPod, BlackBerry and Android.
The username and verification process is fairly simple and straight forward. Once verified, Kik uses the information from your stored phone book contacts to let you know if any of your existing contacts are also using Kik – rather awesome.
From here on minimal brain consumption is required to navigate and operate Kik. Either add a new contact or find the person you want to text from the Kik contact list and away you go typing out your text. I know there has been many a time where I’ve sent a text, especially international texts, and wondered if they’ve ever been received. That is where the Kik application differs from regular texting – it actually lets you know when your message has been sent, delivered and read!
S✓ – Sent
R✓ – Received
D✓ – Delivered
There is also a sound and vibration option for when a new message comes through which makes me extremely happy, as my current Twitter for iPhone application has yet to implement push notifications.
If you have a lot of family and friends overseas (who have smartphones) or you’re just looking at cutting back on your phone bill, I highly recommend this application. There have been so many times where I have wanted to text a friend in the US (from Australia) but the 50 cent text fee has always discouraged me from doing so (it accumulates so fast and before you know it your international text bill alone is $50!).
It is great to finally have a real-time texting application that is not restricted to just BlackBerry users and it is free, so even if you are sceptical, it is definitely worth a shot!
Kik has become such a hot app to have that it has grown to over one million users in just 15 days! Who knows, maybe a few months from now, instead of telling friends to “text me” we’ll be saying, “Hey, Kik me!”
Do you use Kik Messenger? Thoughts?