updated 09:35 am EDT, Mon August 29, 2011
Samsung plans cross-platform ChatON service
Samsung in an unusual step for the run-up to the IFA show this week chose to unveil its own cross-platform messaging service. ChatON will supply group chat but also some distinctive features, such as a "trunk" of photos and videos shared in a chat that can all have comments, the option of commenting on friend profiles, and special messages with images, music, and handwritten parts. Users will even have a form of analytics with ranks for those they talk to the most frequently.
Platform support isn't fully outly but will include "many smartphone/tablet platforms," of which Android and Bada are just part of the support. It will also work on PCs and basic feature phones. The phraising is likely a reference to the iPhone and iPad, which are currently the largest competitors.
ChatON should gradually roll out soon after it's formally shown off at IFA on September 1.
Development on the service started in September last year and would have initially been targeted only at having an equivalent to BlackBerry Messenger, whose group-oriented chat has often been considered a cornerstone for RIM. The timing may unwittingly pit Samsung against Apple once again, however, as it will run up against iMessage. While Apple isn't so far known to be going cross-platform, it's counting on iMessage as a practical alternative to BBM and could undermine ChatON.