Today's App of the Day has caused a bit of a debate within the Pocket-lint team. Is free IM relevant on mobile phones? The point of contention is that the word "free" means that sending messages to whomever you choose won't cost you an SMS which you might otherwise be using. What it does mean, however, is that you pay in the data it costs to send that chat.

So, is data more precious to you or is it your text message allowance the area that's not so plentiful? If the latter is that answer for you, then today's AOTD is something you need to own.


Android Market

It's not exactly dripping in Samsung marketing - in fact, you rather have to dig to find it - but ChatON is a messenger app from the current kings of Korea. ChatON allows anyone to send messages and attached photos, videos, animation and voice recordings to any one or group of people anywhere in the world for the cost of whatever it is in data - which, of course, is nothing if you choose to do it over Wi-Fi. You can also send out your location.

The app lets you add buddies by plugging in their phone numbers and then you can converse with them in typical right/left smartphone speech bubble style. It's slightly annoying that you can't just search for friends in a directory, but there you go.

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Once in flow, the interface is simple enough and there's a good list of ways to find and create attachments from your handset. One of the more interesting sections are the animations which you can make if you have the patience. But we didn't, and we ended up using the defaults instead.

For the time being, ChatOn only works on Android, but Bada, BlackBerry and even iOS support are said to be coming soon. There are a few bells and whistles in the shape of your profile page and a section that shows the stats of your interaction with certain buddies but, ultimately, it's the core function that's the point of interest. Worth a look, but perhaps won't change the world for everyone.