WhatsApp appFacebook paid 19 billion dollars to buy “WhatsApp.” What’s up with that?

“WhatsApp” is an app, and it works with almost any smartphone to let you exchange an unlimited number of text messages for free. The app itself is free for the first year and a whopping 99 cents a year after that.

We don’t need or use WhatsApp ourselves because we’re on a $30 a month unlimited plan from T-Mobile (with just 100 voice minutes). But we installed it anyway to try it out. A message appeared immediately warning us to uninstall two of our favorite apps, Battery Doctor and Mobile Care. Both are so-called “task killers” to prevent battery power loss.

For us that’s a deal killer. Because Battery Doctor is a real serious solution and could in some cases be a life saver. For example, Joy recently wanted to make a call with her Samsung phone but a message appeared telling her she only had a minute of battery life left. So she immediately ran Battery Doctor, which shut down all the unnecessary stuff and increased her remaining battery life to just under an hour. That’s a big difference and could sometimes be a crucial one. We ignored the WhatsApp warning about Battery Doctor and everything is working fine.

Besides text messaging, WhatsApp lets you send voice greetings, pictures and video, and engage in group chats. Your friends have to have the app installed, but “What’s App” gives you a list of your contacts that have it. You can send a million messages if you wish, all for free. It connects to Wi-Fi when that’s available.  

Update: Android users can buy the app for friends or family, regardless of the kind of phone they use. More info.


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