Samstag, 12. Januar 2019

Instant Messengers and their Platform Availability

We live in a world of proprietary instant messengers. Without WhatsApp, WeChat, Line, or KakaoTalk (depending where we live), we may be unable to communicate with others. Hence, it is interesting to look at the platform availability of the most popular instant messengers and chat apps.

The table below summarizes the findings. Some interesting points to note:

  1. Android and iOS are the only platforms that are supported by all messengers. Actually, only iOS is, as Apple's iMessages only work on Apple systems.
  2. The phone has become the main platform for messengers, and some popular apps like WhatsApp and WeChat only work on the PC after you scan a QR code with the mobile app.
  3. Some messengers work in a browser, but some of those only work in Chrome/Chromium.
  4. Minority operating systems such as KaiOS and SailfishOS for phones, or FreeBSD and Illumos for computers, are generally not supported well.
  5. Open source protocols such as Matrix, Tox, XMPP, or IRC are the best way to ensure that all platforms, all operating systems, and all devices are supported, even if it is through inofficial and third-party apps. 



Messenger included in the list (alphabetically):
  • BBMe (successor of BlackBerry Messenger)
  • Chat-over-IMAP (protocol) / Delta Chat
  • Discord
  • Facebook Messenger
  • Google Hangouts
  • ICQ
  • iMessage / Apple Messages
  • IRC (protocol)
  • Jami
  • Jitsi
  • KakaoTalk
  • Kik
  • Line
  • Matrix (protocol) / Riot.im
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Mumble
  • Signal
  • Skype
  • Slack
  • SMS/MMS
  • Snapchat
  • Teamspeak
  • Telegram
  • Tencent QQ
  • Threema
  • Tox (protocol)
  • Viber
  • WebEx
  • WeChat
  • WhatsApp
  • Wire
  • XMPP (protocol)
  • Zoom

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