Suddenly messaging people just got much easier. The Voxer app turns your iOS device into a walkie talkie, but also allows you to send text messages and pictures like you would with a regular text message. All three can be mixed within a conversation.
I wasn’t even looking for such an app, but now having it, I can’t imagine being without it. Voxer doesn’t just work on iOS devices; it also works on Androids, meaning you aren’t as limited. My son started using it on his Android phone, and with him leaving to go back to college, we started using Voxer as a way to keep in touch. I like it much better than texting him from my iPhone.
On startup of the Voxer app, you can either create an account, or have it connect through Facebook. Initially I created an account, then decided I wanted to connect through Facebook. While that feature is there to allow you more messaging opportunities with Facbook friends, I like it because it connected me to my profile on Facebook and picked up my profile picture. It even changed my profile picture within my Voxer conversation when I changed it on Facebook.
With the Voxer app, you can invite your friends to join, and can do so by combing through your contacts. If you connect it with Facebook, you can also invite your friends from Facebook. You can even invite a whole group to join one conversation. There is also an option to include your phone number, and although it says it won’t be published, I tried this option, and had an unknown person trying to chat with me. I deleted my phone number from my profile and no longer have unknown people trying to contact me.
Voxer compares the audio options of the app to a walkie talkie, and that’s exactly how it operates. Using the Hold and Talk button imitates the use of a walkie talkie. As I speak into it, the person or people on the other end of the conversation can hear me in real time. Yet, unlike a walkie talkie, if they aren’t there to receive the conversaton, my words aren’t lost. It stays there as a message for them, and when they return to their phone, they can hear what I said.
Yet, you’re not limited to just speaking. You can also text within the same conversation. It’s not always appropriate to be publicizing a conversation you’re having. I was in contact with my son through Voxer throughout the day while he was traveling back to college via train and car. He wasn’t always in a place where he would want others to hear what I was saying. Yet, when he called to check in and I was shopping, it was great to be able to shop and talk to him, instead of having to stop and text him.
Just like with texting, you can also send and receive photos. Again, you can mix and match between sending photos, speaking, and texting, all within the same conversation.
Voxer also tracks your location. This became invaluable to me with my son traveling to and within another state. Once his train arrived, his ride wasn’t there to greet him, and he couldn’t get ahold of the driver. He was in a city that was foreign to him, and through the location on the Voxer message, I was able to see where he was. He could do the same with his Android, but as a worried mom, I wanted that assurance. There were a few times on the train where I couldn’t see his location, but that was most likely when he was traveling outside of a GPS range.
Voxer keeps a running log of all your conversations. Once you message with that person again, it picks up where you left off, just like when you text normally. Even though my son is now safely returned to his college, I prefer to keep messaging him with Voxer. I was surprised to find that even though my iPad isn’t connected to a phone service, and isn’t on a 3G plan, that I can still message on that. I’m able to message both through my iPhone and my iPad through either 3G or WiFi.
There are only a few negatives using Voxer. One of those is that the texting doesn’t work in landscape mode on my iPhone. If I’m texting more than a few words, it’s a slight pain to have to type it all on the iPhone in portrait mode. The other negative is the most obvious. People who aren’t using an iOS or Android device won’t be able to converse with you. This means you’ll still have to use your standard messaging with them.