The best app on my phone

22:06, Dec 11 2012

"Best" is an entirely subjective term. My "best" app is relatively boring. It isn't some masterpiece of app design like Letterpress or a display of "why didn't I think of that!" app like Pocket. It isn't even iPhone exclusive, and it came out way back in 2011.

It's Facebook Messenger. Yup.

Facebook messenger is a mini-app separate from the lumbering behemoth of the full Facebook app. All it does is messaging (sometimes known as "Facebook chat"). Apps don't get much more plain. It's available to everyone these days - even those without a Facebook account, oddly enough - and is built of an old app Facebook bought called Beluga.

So what's so good about it? Well, for one thing, it's the fastest app on my old 3GS, easily. Why else? Well I use it as my go-to messenger app. Texting is slower, lacks proper photo support, lacks multiple member chatting, and only reaches people on cellphones, not their computers. Messenger works over your data or wifi, but barely uses any of it, while texting uses an older method of piggybacking voice calls' radio waves and is much more expensive. The other data messaging service people sing the praises of is WhatsApp, but I find it much more cumbersome and ugly, and I have to persuade my friends to install it. Everyone I know with a smartphone has some form of Facebook on the device, often messenger, and if not it will pop up on their computers. I still text a fair bit for people who don't have smartphones or don't turn their data on, but I keep under my 200 a month minimum handily, which would seem impossible two or three years ago.

Most of all, it just works. Every time. Never slow, never hangs on a bad 3G connection. Never randomly doesn't send me a push notification, like WhatsApp, or takes 300 years to verify if someone else is on data, like iMessage.

There are much more exciting things on my phone. Layar is incredible, but I barely ever use it. Evernote and Teux Deux are both increasingly useful, but I still don't use them more than four or five times a week. Cut the Rope is still a great time waster. But Messenger has permeated my day-to-day life in a much more meaningful way - I don't feel as though I'm using my phone for some cool app when I use it, I just feel as though I'm talking to someone via a few half sentences.

So what is the best app on your phone, for you? Is it a bit more dramatic?


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