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Mobile messaging apps have come into their own.

• What they are: Apps that allow users to send text messages, photos, videos and sometimes make voice and video calls from one mobile phone to another.

• Popular messaging apps: WhatsApp, WeChat, Line, KakaoTalk, Kik, Viber, Telegram

• Cost: Generally free to download and use. WhatsApp charges users $1 a year after the first year. Other services charge for add-on features.

• Advantages: Allows users to send text messages without incurring SMS charges; let users send messages or make calls across different phones, and connect with friends without having to know or use obscure user names.

• Disadvantages: Some don’t offer programs for PCs; many are popular only in particular countries; none of the programs interconnect.