While most of us have "unlimited" phone call, data and SMS deals on our smartphones, these apps have a number of serious advantages that make them basic apps for every phone.
But with these phone deals, why do you need additional apps?
Well, let's start with SMS, or text messages. While we all have SMS messages on our phones, nowadays it's almost solely used for advertising, updating by our credit card payments or parking apps. Very few users send SMS text messages because it's not "user friendly", and it's very limited in its' functions. You can only send text or mms (data ) files. It's also not very secure.
The three most popular texting apps are those listed above, Facetime, WhatsApp and Duo. Let's take them one at a time.
The granddaddy of these three is Facetime, and is supplied on every iPad,iPhone, iWatch and Mac computer. It really was a great innovation to have video conversations, but it is restricted by Apples' own obsession with only allowing Apple apps on Apple devices. It forces you to have an Apple device if you want to chat with someone by Facetime, which is exactly how Apple like it.
The problem is that there are now many more non-Apple devices sold than Apples, and more flexible apps have stolen their thunder a bit. Also there has been no development of the app expanding its' functionality, probably because Apple don't make any profit from its' use.
WhatsApp is the big success story of the last couple of years exactly for the reason that you can install and use it on any Apple device or Android, and even your home computer of any make.
It's also much more flexible, enabling you to make voice or video calls, send text or voice messages even photographs or documents by using your virtually unlimited data allowance.
Also, because you are using the data channel, and not the phone line, it makes no difference where in the world you connecting to, as long as you have an internet connection. In Israel you have this through your phone package and WiFi connections. Abroad, if you don't have a local data package, you need to use a WiFi connection and you can call home totally free.
If you change the SIM card in your smartphone when you are abroad, you can keep your WhatsApp number the same as in Israel and still receive calls from your Israeli contacts.
Now we come to the " new boy on the block". Duo. This is Google's late arrival into the field and and has a different angle. Firstly, it's a video calling app that suit all types of phones, Android tablets and iPads.
The quality of the video and audio is better than WhatsApp and the app, while less flexible than WhatsApp, is much simpler to use. It also enables you to see the caller on video before you answer. They do not see you. In a similar way to WhatsApp, the Duo contacts list is automatically populated with those contacts that have the app installed.
With both WhatsApp and Duo it's necessary to put the international access code in front of the mobile phone numbers that you have in your contacts list. It won't affect your regular calling. e.g. +44 for the UK.
So, I hope this has helped to clarify any questions that you may have had about these apps and how to use the them. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions, and forward this onto your friends or share to Facebook if you found it interesting !