Samsung ChatON App

ChatON IM client for Samsung phones

A man with an empty speech bubble facing a woman with an empty speech bubble
Malte Mueller / Getty Images

Apps like Whatsapp saw great popularity, and the model of having an integrated instant messaging app bundled on a smartphone out-of-the-box prompted Samsung, the mobile hardware giant, to enter the app competition with ChatON. The app was a well built, feature rich, and briefly popular chat app with as many as 100 million registered users worldwide; however, by the time the app was discontinued by Samsung in 2015, it had become clear that most users did not actually use the app much.

Pros

  • Free app with many features.
  • Smoother and more human communication with some unique features.
  • Supported on multiple platforms, including Android, iOS, BlackBerry, Bada, and even Windows PC.
  • One account allowed communication through different devices.

Cons

  • No native voice or video call feature.
  • Registration required a user ID, and did not use the phone number.
  • No offered ability to call GSM mobile or landline numbers, even paid.

Review

ChatON came into a very competitive market, so its fortunes were going to be somewhat tough to secure against established apps like WhatsApp and Viber. It reached 120 countries and was available in as many as 68 languages. It was briefly among the more popular apps in the US and Europe, but still had some way to go to dethrone WhatsApp. Working in ChatON's favor was its availability across many major platforms: Android, iOS (iPhone, iPad, and iPod), BlackBerry, Nokia, as well as Windows PC.

The app did not perform better on Samsung devices versus non-Samsung devices. There was, however, an issue of compatibility with some operating systems with ChatON. For instance, it ran only on Windows 8, while most desktop Windows users at the time were running Windows 7.

Getting started

Though the Samsung ChatON app has been discontinued, the following information remains for reference.

Go to the download page and download the app according to your device. The file is relatively bulky, but the size is worth what it offers, especially with its fine imaging and voice features. You can use the app on five different devices simultaneously, which keeps you connected.

You need to register with an account with a username and password. Here, it does not follow the WhatsApp and Viber model, where your phone number is your main and only credential. The registration isn’t that straightforward, as it requires you to activate your account through a verification code that you receive through messaging. This account is actually not a ChatON account, but a general Samsung account, which identifies you through Samsung Apps and other Samsung services as well. Not using your phone number can also be an advantage, as it opens up its use on your PC or tablet without needing a SIM card.

ChatON detects who of your friends are using ChatON and adds them to your contact list. Note that, as with other apps and services of the kind, you can communicate only with people using this same service.

The interface of the app is well designed and simple. You should be able to get started straight away without difficulty. The app requires a constant connection and works with Wi-Fi, 3G, and 4G.

Features

You can chat one to one and also in groups with ChatON, and share pictures, office documents, and other files. The app allows you to send animated messages, which is a popular feature among its users. You take a picture or you start with one from your library. You add drawing features to it, either through freehand drawing or by dragging widgets and decorations. The drawing, painting, and animation tools are available all within the app. The sequence of your gestures is recorded into an animated file. When you contact receives the file, they can watch the sequence.

ChatON also allows you to send recorded voice messages, making your chat sessions a bit like a walkie-talkie chat. This way, text chat is substituted with voice without turning the session into a voice call session.

ChatON has something it calls the Trunk, which is space where it saves all the images and other files that you have shared in your chat sessions. This keeps them handy for retrieval at any time.

Presence management is great, with easy status updates and sharing. There is even an interaction management feature, which gives you an indication on what they call the “activation rank” that is a measure of how often you communicate and share with contacts. This gives you an idea of who gets most of your attention, and who cares most.

What's missing

There is one thing that’s missing in the ChatON app: It does not give you message notifications, such as those in other apps (notifications like, “Typing…” or “Sending…” or “Sent” and other indications of delivery).

Finally, ChatON lacks the voice and video call feature like its biggest competition, WhatsApp. For those who want video chat, there is an add that can be installed called ChatOn V over the basic app. This add-on is available only for Samsung Galaxy S4 devices.