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Last Updated: March 27th, 2013

When it comes to chat applications on Android, there's no shortage of options. We have Gtalk, AIM, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Skype, and many, many others. Still, in a veritable sea of instant messaging options, Samsung has managed to provide a useful, unique, and feature-rich experience with ChatON.

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ChatON is Samsung's way of connecting people - regardless of which platform they use - to their friends, family, and coworkers. It works across all major platforms, including Blackberry, Android (of course), iOS, Bada, and even on feature phones. It also has a tablet-specific interface if you prefer to chat it up on the larger screen.

It's full of neat and useful features - even more than most desktop chat clients - and is lightyears ahead of what SMS/MMS can offer. Need to share an image with a coworker? No problem - ChatON lets you embed images on the fly. Have something hilarious to tell your friend, but just can't explain it in text? Toss a recorded voice message directly into the chat. Have a video of your baby doing something extremely cute? Drop it in the chat and send it to the whole family at one time with ChatON's group chat feature. Tap, select, done. It's that easy.

ChatON_Feature Visual_Ani Message ChatON_Feature Visual_Anicon ChatON_Feature Visual_Trunk

And that's just the beginning of some of the awesome things that you can do with ChatON. It also lets you drop documents, calendar appointments, contact info, and even location coordinates directly into the chat! On the more playful side of things, ChatON also has a vast selection of smiley faces and "ani-cons" - short for animated emoticons - along with "animated messages," that will spice up your chat in a flash.

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Left: The share menu; Right: The Trunk. Look at Liam's disgruntled little Bugdroid!

You never have to fear losing any of the files shared within the chat, either. ChatON saves all the files uploaded - be it a document, image, video, or anything else - to the "trunk." Simply tap the box-looking icon in the chat window to pull up all uploaded files. Very, very handy.

Getting started with ChatON is a snap, too. Simply install it, set up an account using your phone number (it will send you a verification text), and you're ready to go. You can even connect the service to Facebook and Twitter to easily find all of your friends who are already using ChatON, as well as invite them all to join if they're not. The more people on your list, the better the overall experience and the more useful the app becomes.

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Once you've populated the buddy list - it's go time. ChatON features an "interaction rank" to keep up with how often you interact with your friends. The more you talk, the higher the rank - an excellent way for all you Chatty Cathies out to settle once and for all who's the most talkative of the bunch. 

Best of all, ChatON is completely free to use across all platforms. If you've ever felt that your existing chat client is lackluster, then ChatON is a great solution - hit the widget and give it a shot.

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    I actually installed ChatOn to play with while Cameron was writing the above and kind of liked it. The sharing features are totally awesome - the video scribbles that play back, instant voice messages, location, images, files. That's one area where it has gTalk beat pretty badly. Even told my wife to install it so we can pass around pics and stuff easier.

    Another aspect I liked is that it seems to be using push notifications to do anything and doesn't maintain a persistent connection, so the battery hit is very minimal. I'm not 100% on that, but I'm pretty sure that's how it works.

    One thing that can be seriously improved is using it on multiple devices. You basically can't - I tried signing in with my phone number (which is how you sign in) on a 2nd device and it kicked me out on the first one. Also the contact I added on the first device never showed up on the 2nd. And when I re-logged in on the first device, that contact was no longer there. Not sure what Samsung was thinking here.

    The looks are too flashy for my liking, I'd rather have a simpler UI.

    Overall though, it's a pretty nice app, and it definitely advanced since I checked it out a long time ago when it just came out.

  • Aw shucks

    What the hell, man.

  • http://www.swehes.com/ Hans-Erik

    Another app that has to be used. I have not tested it and it is among the first that gets removed when I root and debloat among with other samsung bloatware. This is just an opinion.

  • fixxmyhead

    still dont get what these things do. i tried to use it but i didnt see the point. regular messaging does everything i want it to do like send pixs, (crappy) video recording, map location, contact info etc.

    seriously can someone tell me whats the point of the chat on thingies.what do they do that mms cant do?

    • mduran1023

      Well, some people use these to replace MMS altogether. Some cell plans still charge for MMS, so using one of these makes it possible to lower your bill a bit.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      I think the most important bit is that apps like these are free while MMS usually costs money (unless you're on an unlimited plan).

      There's also proper group chat, whereas with MMS/SMS you can send a mass text, but all replies are then split off and are only between you and the recipient.

      I really liked holding the walkie-talkie button and quickly recording a message that gets posted to the other person right away for playback - I don't think that's something MMS can do really easily.

      Those are just some things I've identified as valuable.

      Plus, MMS is terrible when you go cross-platform or use Google Voice - one of the most common complaints is that iOS uses a proprietary format that Android can't read well, and pictures come in as slideshows of terrible quality, for example. I personally despise MMS and would much rather use Google Talk, but it doesn't have half the features, like sending files, location, animated entries (those could be nice for those in relationships), and other things.

      • fixxmyhead

        on touchwiz u can record audio easily and send it through messaging

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          So that means you have to use TouchWiz. And are you saying you can record sound from within the text app and send it? Or that you can use some other app to record, then paste the file in? Cause there's a big difference and convenience factor.

          • fixxmyhead

            i think u can do it in stock vanilla too. just open the attach menu and it will give u options to attach sound, pixs, etc, i think u dont notice it cuz its at the top hidden but on touchwiz below the "send" option its right there and it will open up the built in record app within the message app and record whatever u want and it will attach it afterwards. try it on ur epic 4g

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

            Ah, that's nice, I never looked at that menu before. Mine doesn't have location though, and some other options. Anyway, I think I made the case for apps like ChatOn, Viber, etc above, but thanks for showing some of these things with SMS/MMS app's UI I wasn't aware of.

      • Matthew Fry

        Whenever my family sends me mass texts via iphone it shows up as an MMS. I friggin hate it. Google voice doesn't get it, and there's nothing in there except text. Just another reason to hate Apple. Reason #3345.

  • jm9843

    Sponsored Post? Is this a first or have I just missed it before?

    • mduran1023

      Dunno, but they gotta shake their money maker every once in a while, yeah?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Yeah, it's a first, and I really wanted to make it abundantly clearly for ethical reasons that it's a sponsored post (in the title) as well as make sure it's not a paid review. Simply a different form of advertising. Other sites have done it in the past, and I think it's perfectly acceptable as long as it's clearly marked as such. Plus, we wouldn't do that to any random or shady app, so the subject has to be approved by the editorial team.

      • jm9843

        Gotcha. The thing is, it reads like a paid review. Everything said is glowing and without a hint of criticism. Which makes since, because Samsung is unlikely to pay to be criticized.

        That said, shouldn't the post be ascribed to Samsung as opposed to one of your editors? And doesn't this preclude an app that has received a sponsored post from a "real" Android Police review?

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          Good point on the writer - I'll change it to something more generic. We specifically stayed away from stating our views in the post, trying to keep it purely objective. It's a sponsored post, not a review, I want to make the difference very clear.

  • GraveUypo

    first app i forcibly removed from my gs3

    • Matthew Fry

      Ouch. I'm still running stock and it hasn't bothered me. In fact, I've never opened it nor have I seen it running in the background. Samsung was very smart finally adding a way to hide applications from the app list. I wonder what dev snuck that one in under their noses.

  • IncCo

    One of the most underrated chat-apps out there, its really quite good. Just doesnt have enough users..

  • serrastone

    No thanks, I'll stick with Trillian. Even though it lacks all of the fancy stuff on Android and my Hackintosh, it gets the job done and can send pics. Plus for $12 a year it syncs across all of my devices!

    • wolfkabal

      Agreed - Trillian has been my chat work horse for years!

  • Abhisshek Das

    no problem with sponsored post chaton is not actually bad , just dont like the yello color skim

  • Himmat Singh

    I don't mind sponsored posts either. So long there isn't a 'sponsored review', I'm ok with it. Thanks for making this abundantly clear in the title.

  • mma173

    I think Samsung is trying to make their application feature rich and it ended up being cluttered.

  • http://twitter.com/SvenDaWhoop Sky Sailor

    Not for the Nexus 7?