Whether for personal or business use, staying in touch is no longer restricted by the cost of telephone calling fees, roaming charges, etc. We can communicate with friends and acquaintances across the country and around the world at the touch of a button.
Free internet communication has brought with it a multitude of phone and messenger apps. Here are five that are free to download, highly recommended, able to encrypt your messages and compatible with all your devices regardless of the internet access connection.
In addition to being messaging and free phone call apps, they allow you to send voice messages, photos, videos and documents, and to chat as a group.
Top 5 Free Messenger and Call Apps for Android
|Software Name||Description||Required Android Version|
||Popular messaging app. Make free calls, send all types of media.||Varies with device|
|Google Hangouts||Free video calls, file sharing, video streaming, group chat, more.||Varies with device|
|Skype||Free video and voice calling, share files and other content.||Varies with device|
|Telegram||Secure, encrypted chat, extremely fast messaging app, multi-platform support.||Varies with device|
|Google Voice||Free phone app that provides a usable phone number, several calling features, voice, video chat.||Varies with device|
World over, WhatsApp is the most popular free messenger app and, currently installed on more than a billion devices is looked upon as the standard in messaging. It began as a text messaging app and has evolved to provide free phone calls and free video chats with anybody else on WhatsApp.
Like SMS messaging (which it can also be used for), it works with your phone number and is integrated with your phone’s contact list. Once it’s installed on your system, you’re always logged in so you can’t miss messages, and when you’re offline, it will save your messages. No usernames or PINs are required.
Download here: WhatsApp Messenger
In addition to being a free messenger app and a free phone call app, Hangouts can also serve as an extension with the Google Chrome desktop browser. Originally Google Talk, Hangouts is now also a universal cross-platform messenger app for Google services such as Gmail and Google+.
It has, in recent years, become a serious competitor with Skype for the video calling market, and is excellent for file sharing, real-time video streaming and more. You can also group chat with as many as 150 contacts and video chat with as many as 10 people.
Download here: Google Hangouts
Skype, a Microsoft creation, is best known for video and voice calling but it also has an instant messaging system and can be used to send text, photos and video messages to other Skype users. It has recently been upgraded with a fresh new design and even more features than before. It has an Add-Ins feature for sharing content without having to leave the app.
Other features are Quick Capture for quickly grabbing and personalizing images and videos, Highlights for quick updates and a huge range of emoticons, emojis.
Download here: Skype
Telegram is comparable to a cloud messaging system or a social media network in its group messaging capability. Multi-platform support, ability to handle a wide range of attachments and secure access to communication with large user groups are just some of the differences.
Regarded as the fastest messaging app on the market due to its unique global network, it is powerful enough to host entire online communities. Usernames are optional, as is access of the app to the device’s contact list, and contact can be made by username or telephone number which means that contacts need not be made aware of the number (as in social media). If access is given to the phone’s contact list, the app can detect the numbers of users already subscribed.
This is the messaging app for the security conscious. Secure Chat on Telegram provides end-to-end encryption, and you can even set your messages to self-destruct.
Download here: Telegram
Google Voice is Google’s official free phone call app. It evolved from the Grand Central app and provides a phone number that can be used with your other phones. It has the entire range of calling features – screening, blocking, transcripts, voicemail, conference calls and SMS messaging, too. You can voice and video chat.
You sign up for Google Voice the same way as you do for any other Google service and it uses all the same information as for those other services, then select a phone number based on your area code. To use it with your various devices, just link your existing phone to your Google account.
Download here: Google Voice
These free messaging and phone call apps all sync across all your devices and provide free access to anybody else on the specific app using only your data allowance. Calls made to other people incur the telephone fees as per your calling plan.