Samsung wants to get in on the chat app scene, with plans this week to release a service called ChatOn that would let mobile users communicate with each another without having to send text messages or use other instant-messenger apps.
According to Reuters, ChatOn allows both one-on-one and group text messaging, as well as some cute animated features as shown by this demonstration video on Samsung’s official YouTube account. The company has also registered the domain chaton.com under its official corporate brand.
Mobile chat applications are gaining steam with phone makers and mobile software companies years after Research in Motion (NSDQ: RIMM) showed everybody how it was done with BlackBerry Messenger. Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) has built an iOS-only messaging service into iOS 5, scheduled to arrive pretty soon near the debut of the iPhone 5. And Facebook recently released its own messaging app that’s completely separate from the regular Facebook application.
The report said that Samsung plans to preload ChatOn on the phones it sells running Android and Bada, its homegrown mobile OS for feature phones. But at some point the company also plans to make a version for Apple’s iOS and RIM’s BlackBerry devices, which is a bit of a different gambit: Apple and RIM only allow users of their own devices to exchange messages.
Samsung is in an interesting position at the moment, with strong Android-related growth around the world and a close relationship with Google (NSDQ: GOOG) made somewhat awkward by Google’s bid to purchase rival Motorola (NYSE: MMI). The company may be trying to promote more and more of its own software as opposed to that of partners like Google in order to achieve some degree of independence should Google decide it wants to get into the business of making its own hardware.