Editor's Note: A reader has contributed his review of the new Singtel Wavee app. The reader's views are his own.
If you haven't heard, Singtel has just launched its WhatsApp/Skype competitor.
It's called Wavee, and as bad as it sounds, it's still a pretty decent app, even though at the end of 3 months, Singtel will probably start charging for extra data usage costs.
Wavee comes after years of bitching about how Singtel can't earn any money from calls and SMSes anymore because everyone is using messenger apps. In one statement, Singtel even said that it would want to partner with companies like WhatsApp and Skype to create a "sustainable revenue model" (they probably meant that they would charge the companies for data usage costs, which would be transmitted to end users.)
So it seems Singtel finally decided to join the bandwagon and launch this little unpolished gem.
Wavee requires a valid phone number to sign up for its service. Unlike Skype, there is no email only sign up.
Like its rivals, Wavee allows users to send and receive instant messages, form group chats, and make video or voice calls. Users can also share their location, photos and videos from their phone's camera roll.
Like rival apps Skype and LINE, Wavee included a sketch tool (which allows you to draw on photos or a plain background before sending them) and stickers, which you can send to your friends for additional fun and laughs.
What's nice about the stickers is that they're customized for a local audience. Based on the currently available stickers in the app, there are at least 2 categories of stickers that feature well known Singlish terms like "Bo Liao" and "Huat Ah!" in their selections, as well as a cute cartoony depiction of our local SAF soldiers.
Like other messenger apps, Wavee requires the recipient of your messages to have Wavee installed on their Android or iOS phone. If you don't, the message you send will be counted as an SMS (charges apply).
One function I didn't like however was Wavee's decision to compile all my SMSes and Wavee messages into one inbox. This made differentiating the 2 types of messages quite difficult. There is no message filtering feature that allows you to separate the SMSes from the Wavee messages.
1) Singtel claims that Wavee will offer better quality connections than other apps, at least for users on its telecom network, because it can detect the strength of the network voice calls are being made on and then optimize the call so it doesn’t get dropped. It says it will offer this feature for video calls soon.
2) A smooth interface with hardly any lag time between screen changes and pressing of the button.
3) 3 month free data usage for Wavee
4) Replicates the essential functions (and frills) of other messenger apps like LINE, WhatsApp, Skype, etc.
1) 3 months free data usage ONLY, which means they will start charging after 3 months. Hopefully Wavee developers (Singtel) wake up to the idea that few people like the idea of downloading a free app that will start charging them later.
2) Aggregated SMS and Wavee message inbox, which I suspect works to confuse the reader into sending out SMSes instead of Wavee messages.
IMHO, the jury is still out on this app. The app boasts all of the currently available features that rival apps have, and even has LINE like cutesy features such as stickers and sketch tools. If Singtel addresses the two problems that I mentioned, it could become a serious rival to existing messenger apps.