Samsung’s ChatON messaging app has broken free of its fetters to the brand and gone cross-platform. While users will now be able to access the service on all platforms and devices, ChatON will really stand out for being one of first instant messaging apps to let people chat in multiple languages and translate on the go.
“We believe there is a proliferation of chat apps because no one app is able to satisfy the needs of all users,” Tarun Malik, director of Samsung’s Media Solutions Centre (South West Asia) told IndianExpress.com. So the new ChatOn version 3.5 is anything but a plain vanilla chat app. For instance, it tries to be a P2P sharing solution by offering up to 1GB file sharing and it tries to be a broadcast medium by adding up to 1001 members in group chat. It also wants to be a full-fledged social networking platform like most of the other large IM platforms. After all, ChatON too claims over 200 million subscribers globally, even before opening up to devices that have not been made by Samsung.
While people will now be able to download the app on all smartphones, Malik is clear that the best experience will undoubtedly be on a Samsung phone. “A multi-platform solution is to the benefit of the end-user. But we realised that only Samsung can drive that kind of scale,” Malik said, adding that the idea was to be closed to the consumer and his needs.
There is a lot to look forward for Indian users.For instance, this will be the first app to feature English-to-Hindi and Hindi-to-English instant translation feature and allows local language translation feature for incoming messages in 14 Indian languages. Plus, there is lots of Indian content in the form of local channels. There will be listing of locally relevant deals and discounts. And in case you just want to chat, there are Indian anicons.
However, the challenge for Samsung will be to get people who are hooked to other IM solutions like Whatsapp to shift to their app. The success of IM apps are dependent on whether the person you want to chat with is also on the same platform.