Messaging

Sicher from the IM+ team promises to keep your messages 'super-safe'

Sicher, a new "super-safe" messenger has arrived today on Windows Phone, iPhone and Android devices. Sicher (pronounced "Zee-her") comes from the team behind IM+ and brings free, encrypted chats and file transfers to users. Using the app, you'll be able to chat, send files, photos and voice messages to other users. Sicher goes so far as to not show incoming messages on your lock screen (only an alert) so you have to open the app to get the full message. Sicher features secure end-to-end encryption of messages, files and group chats, anonymous push notifications and self-destruction message settings.

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Snapchat takes a slingshot at Facebook with shareable social stories

As Facebook is trying to take on the ephemeral messaging model with Slingshot, rival Snapchat is trying to become more social and public with a new 'Our Story' feature. Seems like quite the reversal of course for both social networking heavyweights, but Snapchat is adding the Our Story feature to its self-destructing messages model for a more public and group sharing experience.

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250 new emoji could be coming to a phone near you

The Unicode standard has been updated to add an additional 2,834 new characters, which includes about 250 pictographic symbols, or emoji. This expanded list of new symbols could help to add personality to messaging, such as SMS and MMS, Apple's iMessage, BlackBerry's BBM, Google's Hangouts, and other services.

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Skype promises to be better and faster

In the midst of all the E3 news, Microsoft's Skype division has just announced that a new version of Skype is coming soon for iOS users that promises to be better, faster, smoother, and smarter. "Remastered for iPhone," Skype said in a blog post that Skype 5.0 will share a more consistent look and feel with the Android and Windows Phone counterparts, "while still optimizing for iOS's unique strengths."

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Andrew Vyrros, former iMessage lead at Apple, now at messaging startup Layer

Andrew Vyrros, formerly a senior engineer at Apple leading the team behind iMessage, has left the company to become CTO of Layer, a messaging startup. In addition to iMessage, Vyrros' team was also responsible for building and running FaceTime, Apple's Push Notification Service (PNS), and Back to My Mac. Layer aims to build a messaging platform and API that can be built into apps, and Vyrros, who actually left Apple a few months ago, says that he joined the company to help build that platform.

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Snapchat updated with text chat and video calling

Self-destructing photo-sharer Snapchat has been updated today with a couple of major new features. Previously you'd have to take a photo if you wanted to send any kind of message through the service — now text chat is accessible by swiping right from the main camera view, then swiping again on the person you want to chat with. As you might expect, message history is wiped when you swipe away from the conversation, though you can choose to save individual messages for later if they're important. But text chat is only part of the new Snapchat.

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AT&T rolls out unlimited international messaging for texts, pictures, and video

If you happen to be on one of AT&T's Mobile Share plans and have friends, relatives, acquaintances, coworkers, or just people you want to message with that happen to live outside of the United States, then we've got good news: AT&T is making international messaging free on February 28th.

In addition to the free messaging, AT&T is rolling out reduced international calling rates. The new World Connect Value package that includes 1¢ per minute calls to "over 35 countries, including Canada and Mexico." Those other countries are located exclusively in the Caribbean and Central and South America, and tiny nations like St. Pierre and Miquelon are counted among them.

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iOS 6: Higher hanging fruit

What will Apple bring to iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad with iOS 6? What will be the "tentpole" features to take Apple's mobile software into 2013? With WWDC 2012 coming in just over a week, and an iOS 6 beta widely expected to come with it, now's the perfect time to take a look and see what makes sense.

We've already seen some of what is likely coming in iOS 6, including a new version of the Maps app that replaces Google data with Apple data. It wouldn't surprise us in the least if it brings turn-by-turn navigation with it either, by way of Siri...

But what else could Apple bring with iOS 6?

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BiteSMS vs Messages+ for iOS 5: which should you use?

The amazingly functional and customizable BiteSMS takes on the deeply integrated and easy to use Messages+ in a battle of the jailbreak messaging apps

Are you jailbroken on iOS 5 and wondering whether you should purchase BiteSMS or Messages+? Both applications add quick reply functionality and make messaging more functional. But which is a better choice for you?

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iOS 5 to include new messaging service across iPhone, iPad and iPod touch

iOS 5 will include an all-new iMessage service across the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The system has a look and feel a lot like the text message app in iOS for the iPhone, and comes with a BBM-style delivery and read receipts, real-time typing indications and looks really great.

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