With the free imo messaging app for Android, make free video calls and chat with friends. While imo offers many of the features you'd already find in other popular chat apps, it does a nice job of keeping your messages front and center.
Text chats: With imo, chat one-on-one with another imo user. If they aren't already using imo, you can invite friends from your contacts list to sign up.
Along with chat, you can send stickers, snap and share a photo, or choose one from your photo library. You can also record and send a short looping video. And the app includes a drawing tool that lets you doodle something on a small canvas to share. The interface is uncluttered and easy to use.
Voice and video chat: Make person-to-person voice and video calls with imo from the Chats or Contacts screen or during a chat. We were impressed with the quality of the video calls, but voice calls were not as solid.
Group video calls: Tap the New Group Call button to set up a conference call. Select contacts on the screen and then tap the voice or video button to start. You can also assign a name to the group.
Unclear how imo secures messages: The company states on its Google Play page that imo offers "Encrypted chats and calls," but offers no details about encryption on its Google Play page, on its website, or in the app. The company did not respond to emails requesting clarification about how imo employs encryption.
Encryption can range from the approach Signal Private Messager takes -- using end-to-end encryption to encode a message on the sender's end and then decode it on the recipient's side -- to how Google's Allo app encrypts messages, where messages by default are decrypted and stored when they arrive on Google's servers.
No help files: It's a messaging app, right? How hard can it be? But neither the app nor the website includes help files or documentation in case you want to look up something.
The imo app for Android offers much of what you'd look for in a messaging app. But it has a me-too feel to it, and unless your family and friends are also on imo, it doesn't offer a compelling reason to switch.