Cross-Platform Messaging: What's Your Ideal Solution?

Qxoo_medium

Let's talk about cross-platform messaging for a moment — it's a dilemma I've recently been struggling with, so I'm turning to the wealth of knowledge on these forums to see if an ideal solution exists.

I primarily use an iPhone 4S as my daily driver (though I recently experienced two weeks with the Lumia 900 and will subsequently have the same opportunity with the 920), but I own and love the Nexus 7 and have been more and more interested in identifying the ways in which all these ecosystems can coexist productively.

For me, one of the primary hurdles to overcome when I consider switching to another phone is the lack of a suitable replacement for iMessage. Of course, this has its issues (as we've seen with the recent outage) but overall it's an extremely robust way of having a rich chatting experience with your Apple friends.

But...not all of my friends use Apple products, which is why I've been looking into the alternatives. What I'm after is a system that offers the flexibility and robustness of iMessage without the single-platform restriction — and I'm hoping you can help me find it!

I'm aware of many of the major players, including the following:

WhatsApp

Kik

PingMe

GroupMe

Line

Viber

Nimbuzz

And perhaps even...Facebook Messenger or Skype?

But I'm sure I'm missing some, and since I don't have time to fully explore each and every one, I was hoping to canvas for opinions first to see which of them can accomplish what I'm after.

Be specific, you say. Okay. Let me spell out what I'd love for this ideal service to offer:

  • Individual & group messaging
  • Read receipts & typing status
  • Notifications and instant/fast performance
  • Platform coverage: preferably with at least iOS/Android/WP, including tablets. Bonus points for web/PC/Mac
  • Standard 'MMS' features: photo & video messages
  • Location sharing
  • SMS-based fallback
  • Ability to reach friends without necessarily requiring everyone to download/sign up/etc. when they don't want to

That last one seems to be tricky, and while many of the services I've looked into seem full of potential, I'd love to get some feedback from you guys.

What do you actually use, how well does it work for you and your friends, and what do you consider to be the optimum solution to the problem of seamless cross-platform messaging?