Mobile Messaging is Broken

We hear see it on the forums all the time. People in every single camp arguing over how great their respective platforms messaging app is. However I feel what people fail to see is that messaging as a whole is simply broken and I do not see it getting any better. Instant messaging is like email and if it is not cross platform it kind of just sucks.

The Messaging Closed Garden

iMessage is great for iPhone users and their iPhone using friends. However the minute 1 of your friends jumps ship, they are at risk of losing a message or never receiving one because either...they have an iPad which got the message and it never got delivered to their Android phone as a SMS...or an array of other weird delivery problems. The issue here is that iMessage is not cross platform, which in the end makes it only as good as what the person your sending it to has.

The Messaging Cross-Platform Jungle

Now you have Hangouts, which will have SMS integration once Kit Kat is released. This great because you can send and view SMS messages and Hangouts all in one app, and it is cross platform. Problem solved...right? Not really. Hangouts problem is actually the complete opposite of iMessage. Hangouts requires everyone to be using Hangouts, which for the most part probably is not going to happen that much with iOS. Even with Android...users are dispersed between FB Messenger, WhatsApp, and others so the problem is even worse. Plus to add a little more, even if a user used Hangouts on iOS...it cannot act as its default SMS provider, so it brings us back to the initial problem of juggling multiple messaging apps. To be clear FB Messenger also is plagued by the same problem Hangouts will have. WhatsApp is even worse because it cannot even act as a SMS app.

Which brings us back to the original claim, that mobile messaging is broken. Yes it works well for the pocket of users each messaging platform supports but in the end for many people messaging will continue to stay an array of 2 - 3 Apps users use to communicate. For me who carry's a iPhone for work and Nexus 4 for personal...

  1. WhatsApp on my Nexus 4 to party chat with my sisters
  2. Hangouts on my iPhone and Nexus 4 to chat with my wife
  3. iMessage on my iPhone for SMS and sometimes IM's from my baby sister
  4. Hangouts/SMS App on my Nexus 4 to get SMS's from everyone else

Yep for me that is 3 apps. This is the new normal for mobile messaging, and I don't see it going away