Saturday, April 4, 2015
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WhatsApp and WhatsApp Plus (WhatsApp+) are both instant messaging apps for smartphones that use your 3G, 4G, 4G LTE, or Wi-Fi connection to transmit text messages (SMS), multimedia files and voice messages without impacting your paid messaging plan.
While at one time WhatsApp+ was considered an unofficial modification of WhatsApp, it is now a very popular App in its own right, but only available if you have a phone with Android OS or an iPhone. It is not available for Windows phones, nor for Blackberry, Nokia Symbian, Sailfish, or any other phone OS. The differences between the two can be compared to the variation between vanilla and Rocky Road ice cream: it’s a matter of additions and flavoring.
There are some things both apps have in common: both work over your cellular carrier’s phone signal (or via wi-fi) to allow you to send messages (text, voice, and multimedia) back and forth with friends and family. All messages are transmitted in real-time: in other words, you can carry on a conversation at conversational speeds, using WhatsApp’s interface. It’s been said that WhatsApp is causing the same disruption in the messaging world that Skype did with landline communications.
The original WhatsApp’s most important feature is that it permits full cross-platform communication: it doesn’t matter what kind of phone you have, what operating system you use, what carrier you are on, or what country you’re in: you can send messages back and forth to your friends and family for free, or for a small subscription fee after the first year as long as you can access the internet from the phone.
It’s only about a dollar a year to use after the first year for the program, which is essentially open source code. When asked, the developers said they charge the subscription fee because they don’t want to have to deal with selling ads, after having been at Yahoo, worrying about selling ad space instead of development, only to see Google overtake and demolish them commercially.
WhatsApp’s been THE most popular messaging application in the world since 2011, but recently took a hit and lost subscribers when Facebook acquired it this past October. People immediately started switching to other messenger services in protest. But even with that, it is still the most popular messaging app in the world.
A small community of users, dissatisfied with what they characterized as WhatsApps’ lack of extra features and customization options, developed unofficial modifications for WhatsApp, and called the resulting app WhatsApp Plus (WhatsApp+). WhatsApp+ adds customization, and lets you change a few critical settings so that you can transmit large files in messages from the WhatsApp+ interface.
You can also configure the interface to thread messages in a manner that mimics your phone’s SMS functions. Users with WhatsApp+ can customize the interface further, add wallpapers, change dialog boxes and bars, design and export or import themes, and change the upload limits to send video clips, large photo files, and music – basically, it has added bling to vanilla WhatsApp. But it has created a caste system for smart phones: not all phones run on Android or iPhone OS. Otherwise, you can change the interface to suit yourself.
That’s it, in a nutshell: the takeaway. WhatsApp Plus can be downloaded for Android phones from Google Play, and for iPhones, from iTunes. Both charge a small fee for download, typically for less than $2.00 US. WhatsApp is available for download at WhatsApp.com or from your phone manufacturer’s website. It is available for all existing phone operating systems at the WhatsApp site.
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