Swakker Chat Soars in Creativity, Lacks in Practicality

Price: Free    Score: 7/10    By Anna PapachristosSwakker Chat

Text messaging has become one of the most popular forms of communication today.  Sometimes it even seems as if more people use their phones for texting rather than talking.  Whilst all cell phone providers offer an array of text messaging plans in addition to your talk plan, Swakker Chat by Swakker LLC puts a new twist on traditional texting.

Swakker Chat presents iPhone and iPod Touch users with the first messaging app that lets you draw and chat in the same thread.  “Swakkers” can chat IM-style on a screen that resembles a blank sheet of notebook paper with the option to doodle right on the paper or insert your own photo.

Users must first log in to their Swakker account, or create one if they do not have one already.  Setting your email and password will allow for auto-login if you so choose.  In the bottom navigation bar, the ‘Chats’ icon lists all current conversation threads.  The ‘Friends’ icon list those friends of yours who also have chat, while the ‘Apps’ icon displays Swakker’s other apps.  ‘Swakker Café’ is currently unavailable as that feature is coming soon.

The ‘More’ icon displays your personal profile, which allows users to easily send feedback emails and view account details because, like the major cell phone providers (compared specifically to AT&T, carrier of the iPhone), Swakker Chat requires a text messaging plan, but at significantly lower costs.

Messaging rates are as follows:

–         250 messages for $.99 (compared to $5.00 with AT&T)

–         1000 messages for $1.99 (compared to $15.00 with AT&T)

–         1 month unlimited messaging for $1.99 (compared to $20.00 with AT&T)

–         1 year unlimited messaging for $5.99 (compared to $240.00 at AT&T)

When viewing your account under the ‘More’ tab, users can see how many messages remain if they have a limited plan, as well as add more messages to their plan.  You can view the various rates right on that page.  Also, with Swakker Chat, you never pay for texts you receive, as opposed to the $.20 AT&T and Verizon charge, and new users get a 100 message trial period free.

Though this concept is very attractive and enticing, Swakker’s app fails to measure up to practicality standards because, in order for you to utilize this cheaper alternative, all your friends must also have Swakker Chat as well.  With the likelihood of everyone a user knows having an iPhone or iPod Touch being very slim, users will simply end up paying extra for Swakker’s service in addition to their phone service provider’s text messaging plan.

However, Swakker Chat has some extremely ingenious and intelligent characteristics that make it an app worth testing (since you do get a 100 message trial for free!)  Swakker Seatbelt is the innovative feature that can detect when you are moving at a speed greater than 10 mph.  Swakker Chat will then ask you if you’d like to suspend message alerts so as to curb the temptation to text while driving.  Swakker Googles is a time-sensitive feature that double checks if the user really wants to send their message any time after midnight.  This feature conveniently helps prevent any inebriated messages you may regret having sent the next morning.  Swakker Chat also works like the standard text messaging system on the iPhone in that it provides push notifications with a sound and pop-up alert, along with a marker on the app icon.

Swakker Chat requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later and is compatible with the iPhone and iPod Touch.


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