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Having family in various corners of the earth, I am always on the lookout for ways to communicate without breaking the bank. When I came to know of this app from my cousin, I was surprised I hadn't heard of it earlier.
Viber is an application that enables you to call, text or share pictures with anyone anywhere over the Internet. It is available for various platforms like iPhone, Blackberry, Samsung, Windows phone, Nokia etc.
I downloaded it for my iPhone free from the app store. It is only 17.6 MB in size. The app is updated regularly and new features are added with each update. The latest version is compatible with iPhone 5 and requires iOs 4.3 or later. It ca also be used on the iPad or iPod touch.
Once you download the app you are required to register using your mobile telephone number, which is like your ID. So unlike Skype or Yahoo messenger you do not need to create an account or log in, you are always connected as long as you have an Internet connection. The app requires access to your address book and automatically shows all those with a Viber account.
The interface is very similar to the Phone app on iPhone. There are five options on the bottom: messages, recents, contacts, keypad and 'more' from left to right.
Messaging is instant, and there is also the option of sending your location or a picture taken then or from your gallery. There are lots of interesting emoticons and 'stickers' which are images that convey a message. As with the iPhone, all conversation with a person are stored under their name until you choose to delete it.
'Recents' show your most recent call history. In 'contacts' you can either display all your phone contacts or just the Viber contacts, and mark favorites as well. Keypad appears to be the same as the phone. 'More' options include inviting people by SMS or mail, or sharing directly on Facebook and Twitter.
As I have an iPhone 3 I can't comment on the features meant for iPhone 5, like speech to text function, but even so I have found this app incredibly useful to keep in constant touch with my family, especially my cousins and brothers who are thankfully tech-savvy. The call quality has been excellent, and texting has been instant. Photo sharing has also worked very well.
The obvious problem is that as it is net dependent, you need a good Internet connection to benefit from this app. Of course, call quality will vary with the speed of your connection. During a call, it will show how good the connection is.
Interestingly, this app is free and has no advertisements, I wonder how they are making money out of this.
CONCLUSION: Free app for free international calling and texting. Absolutely recommend.