Threema, a good alternative to Skype?

Hi all!
I would like to install an app for messaging and phoning like Skype but it seems to cause quite a few issues. I actually tried with Skype when I first received my FairPhone but there were so many issues I preferred to remove it altogether.

Threema seems to have a high rating everywhere but I would like to check if anybody has had any experience with it on a FairPhone. Also I’m not sure that one can use it for phoning - although for messaging it’s perfect.

If you have any other suggestions, they’re most welcome!
Many thanks in advance…

Hi Mymble,
I have Threema on my fairphone since 1 year. It works perfect. But it’s only for messaging. It encrypts your messages, I like it very much. For phoning there is Viber as an alternative. But it’s not safer than Skype. I also use ist since 1 year. All your contacts are published to their server :frowning:

I hope this will help you.

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I’m sing Threema since I got my FP. It works quite good as a messenger, and has an optional add-on for sound files (which I never installed), but is no real VoIP solution.

Upside: works more reliable than TextSecure. (BTW, both offer push notification via Google Cloud Messaging, but at least Threema works also in a pull-mode w/o GCM. Did not check for that in TextSecure.) Downside: closed source.

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The reliability problems should be gone by now.

(Explanation: They began rolling out a new delivery mechanism with version 2.7. It uses Google’s Cloud Messaging only to wake up your device which then fetches new messages directly from the TextSecure server. So: no more GCM-induced message loss.
As the current version is something like 2.12, I suppose the rollout is finished, but nonetheless: if you’re not sure whether you’re already using the new delivery method, un-tick and re-tick “TextSecure messages” in the settings to re-register. This won’t delete your key material, so no “new identity key”-warnings for your contacts.)

Back to topic: For the VoIP side of things, you may try RedPhone.
While it should work, it still lacks a lot of polish. That will hopefully resolve itself soon once it’s merged with above-mentioned TextSecure into “Signal”, which will then be a unified messaging and VoIP solution, comparable to Skype.

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Yes indeed, that does help very much, thank you!
A question though: why do you use Viber rather than Skype?

I chose Viber because it seems to need less bandwidth than Skype. Most of the time I use it without Video. This can be an advantage if you are not connected with wifi or wifi connection is not so good.

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I would actually advice against Viber.
My wife had battery autonomy problems on her phone.
A quick investigation with Wakelock Detector pointed out that Viber kept the phone awake for like 90% of the time…
And that, in turn wore out her battery, it ended up all swollen…

So, be careful.

Another thing you could use for voip with video is Google Hangouts

The fairphone OS seems to have predisposition of IP calls (eg when in your phone book, it offers the possibility to make an ip call) but I have no clue how this works, if anybody knows, I’d be curious.

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I’d be interested as well. I remember that some people complained about missing SIP capabilities of the FP, so I guess it can’t be for that?

Can anybody enlighten us?

Yes I would also be interested! Thank you!

Hi Mymble,

like @haffenloher, i would recommend the combination of TextSecure and Redphone, offered by the same developer team, Open Whisper Systems. Unlike Threema, the TextSecure messenger is not only free as in free beer, but also truly open source. Open source is of course not a sufficient condition, but viewed by many privacy-minded people a necessary condition for privacy.

What I also like very much about TextSecure is that it replaces your native text messaging app in that you can use it to either write classical text messages or TS (push) messages, depending on whether the recipient uses TS, too. This works automatically. This way, when you install TS, it doesn’t increase the number of messaging apps on your phone, thus avoiding clutter. Plus, this way I could convince a lot of my friends and family to install the app - it doesn’t matter at all whether a lot or very little of your contacts use the app, too.

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Two things to add, regarding reliability (mentioned above):

  1. TextSecure builds expire after six months. When this happened to me because of lost time/date settings, TextSecure ceased working, i.e. I could not send any messages.
  2. TextSecure can (unlike Threema) encrypt SMS to other TextSecure users. (Only encrypting content, of course, not metadata). However, this feature is a bit tricky to use, and prompted friends who were using Signal (on their iPhone) to uninstall the app.

[Edit: I still recommend the app!]

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Thanks Hans. TextSecure does not provide encrypted SMS anymore: https://whispersystems.org/blog/goodbye-encrypted-sms/

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Thanks, I didn’t know. (Their “global south has expensive SMS, an/or no smartphones” argument is utter bullshit for any African country I ever worked in, but anyways. It’s true that it’s far from seamless, and confusing.)