Samsung Electronics has announced a cross-platform instant messaging service, ChatON, which will allow users of all major Smartphones, Tablets, notebook PCs and Samsung feature phones, to send text, images, hand-written notes and video, to each other. The service will support Android, Apple’s iOS, RIM’s BlackBerry and Samsung’s own Bada OS, in addition to offering a web-client, for access on computers, reports The Wall Street Journal.

According to a statement from the company, ChatON will be available in more than 120 countries supporting up to 62 languages, and will feature a basic functionality option for feature phone users, allowing users to share text, pictures, calendar, contacts and emotions through an easy-to-access client, and an advanced version for smartphone users offering features like Interaction Rank and the abilty to post comments on buddies’ profile pages.

Users will also be able to create an ‘Animation message’, creating their own content by scribbling text, adding audio and choosing background pictures. This implies that the IM(instant messaging) service will also border on being a social networking tool. There is no mention if the messages will be encrypted.

Competition

– ChatON will face competition from popular cross platform smartphone messaging services like WhatsApp, LiveProfile and Viber, apart from proprietary messaging services like RIM’s BlackBerry Messenger-BBM, and Apple’s soon to be available iMessage.

– Although proprietary IM services have restricted themselves to devices of a particular platform, it has been rumored that RIM intends to make BlackBerry Messenger cross-platform.

– BBM also requires a special BlackBerry data plan to be activated on the user’s phone, so there are additional costs.

– Social networking site Facebook had also launched an independent messaging app for iOS and Android users, while Google+ offers Huddle, a group and p2p IM tool.

– Recently, WhatsApp has also announced the public beta of its messaging app for Nokia Series40 phones, which means that the app will soon be available for feature phones, making it a common messaging platform across smartphones and feature phones. However, WhatsApp is a paid service, and although Nokia offers it free for the first year, users have to pay an yearly fee of $1.99. Also, it’s not available for devices like the iPad and iPod touch.

Probably the only thing that goes in favour of Samsung’s ChatON will be free access to the service, and compatibility across various devices. However, it will be challenging to convince users to adopt a new Messaging service. On an aside, the Government will probably have another service to intercept.  Will you download ChatON, once it arrives in October?

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