Category Archives: ideas

Alternative to WhatsApp

Now that everybody is worried about Facebook buying WhatsApp, and the privacy issues involved, I think it is time to present one of my Brilliant Idea To Share.

What would you think about following messaging app for your phone:

  • Dion’s Messenger is a totally free messaging app for your smart phone .
  • Send messages, pictures, documents, videos, songs and sound: no limit to the multimedia content you can send.
  • Available on Android, iOS, Windows Mobile, but also available on very old smart phones: it runs on EVERYTHING!
  • And even better: available on your desktop or laptop computer as well!
  • It can even be used via web interface (e.g. in an internet café!)
  • Automatically saves a transcript of your conversations in your mailbox, on-line or off-line.
  • Server supported by almost every internet service provider on the planet, so net neutrality guaranteed!
  • No need to hand over you precious telephone number: all you need is a valid e-mail address!
  • Seamlessly integrates with GMail,, but also your service provider’s e-mail.
  • You can even reply by e-mail to someone messaging you!
  • Dion’s Messenger is FREE, NET-NEUTRAL, and OPEN SOURCE.

Sounds pretty interesting, doesn’t it? Apart from the lame name. But ‘WhatsApp’ isn’t that cool either.

You know what the best part is? This fantastic system already exists: it’s called e-mail.

Seriously. The only difference between WhatsApp (or any other messenger) and e-mail is that the messenger apps update faster, lie about who’s typing on the other side, and use a clever threading mechanism to make it look like a live conversation.

Let me write a quick spec for Dion’s messenger running on a smart phone:

  • Dion’s Messenger is just an IMAP e-mail client.
  • When in the background, check every minute for new messages.
  • When in the foreground, check every ten seconds for new messages.
  • Messages are composed using a default subject (‘Dion’s messenger conversation with ‘.)
  • All messages to the same person are replies to the latest message in that thread.
  • Message threads are displayed using funny text balloons.
  • On the bottom of each thread is an edit box to directly reply to the thread (similar to GMail’s quick reply.)
  • The main screen of the application shows all message threads using the default subject, sorted by newest message first.
  • A dialog called ‘Add Contact’ allows you to start a message thread with an e-mail address you just type in.
  • That’s it.
  • No really, that’s it.

Now I only need some volunteers to implement this in Android Java, Apple Objective C, JavaScript and PHP (for the web interface) and we’re ready to roll. Freedom, at last. Forever free messengers. No worries about Facebook buying phone-numbers. Or Google owning everything. Messaging is finally ours.

Help me write some code! Just don’t tell anyone that it is just e-mail.