Samsung is planning to introduce a free text messaging application called ChatON at IFA later this week. In addition to supporting Samsung's Bada OS, the cross-platform app will run on Android, BlackBerry and iOS devices as well. ChatON will provide basic one-on-one conversations, group chat, group messaging and multimedia sharing across all platforms.
There will be two versions of ChatON available at launch. The first is a basic app for feature phones that provides texting and the ability to share images, calendars and contacts. A more advanced smartphone version allows for Interaction Rank, which shows you how active a user is on the service and AMS (Animation Message Service). AMS allows you to draw basic animations over images that the recipient can view.
ChatON will be free to download and should start rolling out in September in over 120 countries in 62 languages. A web-based version is also being planned that would allow PC users to interact with mobile devices.
This is just the latest program designed to circumvent carrier-based SMS, as third party software developers and mobile OS providers are aiming to lure customers with the promise of free text messaging.
In July, RIM released BlackBerry Messenger 6, an update to their popular Messenger service that enables the app to interact with other applications. Apple will be launching iMessage with iOS 5. iMessage will work over 3G and Wi-Fi and will serve as an alternative to traditional text messaging. Besides the typical SMS/MMS functionality, iMessage will offer delivery receipts, read receipts and user typing indications.