Samsung Gets Its ChatOn Too

1:35 PM Samsung launches a cross-platform, group mobile IM service, but it's just one of many companies feeling chatty lately

Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms

August 29, 2011

2 Min Read
Samsung Gets Its ChatOn Too

1:35 PM -- First it was voice calls, and then came text messages, but now it appears that free mobile instant messaging is emerging as the communication medium du jour. Samsung Corp. is getting in on the action too, announcing ChatOn, its version of a group mobile IM service.

Like BlackBerry 's BlackBerry Messenger and Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)'s soon-to-be-launched iMessage, ChatOn (demoed in the following video) lets users send group texts, video and multimedia messages, as well as push their calendar, location and social networking updates to friends. (See Apple Borrows From Competitors for iOS 5.)

ChatOn looks like a fun new service and, unlike its competitors, Samsung is opening it up to smartphones and feature phones, as well as on its own bada OS, iOS, Android, BlackBerry and PCs. But even though ChatOn is more open than the others, it doesn't negate the fact that there are others -- lots of them.

Outside of Apple and RIM, Facebook , Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) (through its Skype Ltd. and GroupMe acquisition), and a number of apps like PingChat and WhatsApp offer alternatives. (See Mango Is a Go and Skype Acquires Group Chat Startup.)

It's clear that traditional SMS is becoming less important, and less of a revenue generator for wireless operators, but the mobile IM market would do better standardizing around one or two options. Chatting is only fun when it's a two- or multi-way street, and when everyone is on a different service, there might be no one to talk to.

I'd expect more M&A, and perhaps moves by the wireless operators to make SMS more appealing (or just more expensive) in the future.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

About the Author(s)

Sarah Thomas

Director, Women in Comms

Sarah Thomas's love affair with communications began in 2003 when she bought her first cellphone, a pink RAZR, which she duly "bedazzled" with the help of superglue and her dad.

She joined the editorial staff at Light Reading in 2010 and has been covering mobile technologies ever since. Sarah got her start covering telecom in 2007 at Telephony, later Connected Planet, may it rest in peace. Her non-telecom work experience includes a brief foray into public relations at Fleishman-Hillard (her cussin' upset the clients) and a hodge-podge of internships, including spells at Ingram's (Kansas City's business magazine), American Spa magazine (where she was Chief Hot-Tub Correspondent), and the tweens' quiz bible, QuizFest, in NYC.

As Editorial Operations Director, a role she took on in January 2015, Sarah is responsible for the day-to-day management of the non-news content elements on Light Reading.

Sarah received her Bachelor's in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She lives in Chicago with her 3DTV, her iPad and a drawer full of smartphone cords.

Away from the world of telecom journalism, Sarah likes to dabble in monster truck racing, becoming part of Team Bigfoot in 2009.

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