Telegram on Windows Phone
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Over WhatsApp? Try these Telegram apps for Windows Phone

Last week Facebook bought messaging app WhatsApp for a whopping $19 billion. That’s a huge win for the team at WhatsApp, but it’s also left a lot of loyal WhatsApps users feeling a little burned by the move. The fact that no major technology company controlled WhatsApp was appealing to some of its 400+ million users. Those wanting an experience similar to WhatsApp, but arguably better, have recently been flocking to Telegram.

Last Saturday when WhatsApp experienced downtime, Telegram picked up 4.9 million new users. It’s slowly been creeping up the most popular download lists on both Android and iOS, but the recent WhatsApp news have helped propel it even higher. We’re still waiting for an official Telegram app to hit Windows Phone. While we wait, let’s check out some unofficial apps available right now in the Windows Phone Store.

Telegram?

Telegram (https://telegram.org/) is a new messaging service from Nikolai and Pavel Durov. These are two Russian brothers who founded VK, an extremely popular social network that’s seen a lot of success in Russian speaking countries like Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and others. VK launched in 2006 and now has over 228 million users. The Durov brothers built Telegram as a means to communicate that the Russian security agencies couldn’t access. Nikolai Durov created a new protocol, MTProto, for Telegram, while Pavel provided financial support.

Keep in mind that Telegram was created so that spy agencies couldn’t intercept messages and that the app is financially backed by the Durov brothers. Those two pieces of information are very important for the question a few of you are wondering….

Telegram vs. WhatsApp

WhatsApp is serviceable and popular. WhatsApp is so popular with its 400 million users that Facebook paid more than the GDP of Jamaica to acquire the app. Then why do we need another messaging app? Mostly because Telegram is building on the foundation created by apps like WhatsApp, Kik, BBM and others to create a better product.

Here’s what Telegram has to say about itself compared to WhatsApp:

“Unlike WhatsApp, Telegram is cloud-based and heavily encrypted. As a result, you can access your messages from several devices (including desktops!) and share an unlimited number of photos, videos and documents (doc, zip, mp3, etc). Thanks to our multi-data center infrastructure and encryption, Telegram is also faster and way more secure. On top of that, Telegram is free and will stay free — no ads, no subscription fees, forever.”

Here are all the features you get with Telegram:

  • Private – Telegram messages are heavily encrypted and can self-destruct
  • Cloud-based –Telegram lets you access your messages from multiple devices
  • Fast –Telegram delivers messages faster than any other applications
  • Distributed – Telegram servers are spread worldwide for security and speed
  • Open – Telegram has an open API and protocol free for everyone
  • Free – Telegram is free forever. No ads. No subscription fees.
  • Secure –Telegram keeps your messages safe from hackers
  • Powerful – Telegram has no limits on the size of media or chats

Telegram WP Tile

Those are some pretty great features, especially for a messaging client for today. Compared to WhatsApp its better in a few ways right off the bat.

We’re big fans that Telegram has an open API and anyone can build apps using it. That’s something you can’t do with WhatsApp. Not happy with the official WhatsApp offering for Windows Phone? Too bad, you’re stuck with it. Once the official Telegram app comes out we can always go to third party apps if we aren’t happy with it.

Another huge limitation of WhatsApp is that you can only use it on a single device. Want to use it on multiple phones? Nope. Want to use it on your PC or tablet? Nope. WhatsApp lives purely on a single device and that’s a huge limitation for a message app. Telegram can be signed not just into multiple devices at once, but multiple apps on a single device. We’re testing out all the various Telegram apps on Windows Phone and don’t need to worry about logging out of them while switching back and forth. There are also some web based apps for Telegram being made right now be developers. Messaging wherever and however you want.

Did we mention that Telegram is free? The app is financially supported by the Durov brothers and will be free for its entire life. No ads. No subscription fees. You’ll never need to pay to use the app. They won’t sell your information to advertisers or governments. They’ll never take venture capitalist money or sell off Telegram. Of course you have to take that at face value, but it’s a solid promise from the creators.

Telegram WP Lockscreen

Of course not everyone is convinced that Telegram is that secure. While the team at Telegram plans on open-sourcing all the code in the future, they haven’t done so yet. Which means it’s only as secure as they claim. There is some concern in the crypto-community that Telegram’s protocol isn’t up to par with what it could be.

The apps available on Windows Phone right now

The official Telegram app for Windows Phone isn’t out yet, but once it does go live we’ll be sure to let you know. In the meantime, these are some of the third-party Telegram apps available in the Windows Phone Store using the Telegram API. Keep in mind most of these apps are very similar in functionality so we won’t spend too much time with them. We’ll list them, share screenshots and make it easy to download. At the end we’ll share our favorites.

Migram BETA­ Windows Phone Store

Migran Screens

QR: Migram

NgramWindows Phone Store

Ngram screens

QR: Ngram

FluorogramWindows Phone Store

Fluorogram

QR: Fluorogram

ChatogramWindows Phone Store

Chatogram

QR: Chatogram

AkragramWindows Phone Store

Akragram

QR: Akragram

Want Telegram? Get these apps

Off the bat we just might prefer Telegram as a service over WhatApp, not just for the features listed up above, but also because the video quality you can send is a lot higher. There a few solid Telegram apps to pick from, but you’re probably wondering which ones we’re liking the most. We just spent the better part of a day playing with the various apps. Right now we’re liking Migram for features (different background images) and Ngram for reliability. Both apps feature the following:

  • Push notifications
  • Live tile counter
  • Lock screen notifications
  • Select different notification sounds for different users
  • Setting to automatically save incoming photos
  • Group chats supported

The last time we reported on Telegram we noted that various beta apps would be out soon for Windows Phone. You’re looking at those beta apps above and one of them will become the official app for Windows Phone. Be sure to try them out and leave your feedback on which one you like best and would like to see become official. 

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Reader comments

Over WhatsApp? Try these Telegram apps for Windows Phone

250 Comments

Not everyone has unlimited texting, especially outside the US. All of my international friends use whatsapp/skype to communicate with family back home.

Even if you have unlimited texting, it wouldn't come close to what whatsapp and other IMs offer. You can send images , video , voice etc... you know if the person you;re talking to is online or not, if they've received your message and read it not to talk of bucked up messages and so on. 

Group chat, perfect if you don't have an sms/mms plan, perfect if you're on a provider that charges both people for the sms, perfect if you have friends/family abroad, perfect if you're on a provider where data roaming policy is different from sms roaming

Some of us are spoiled and have group chat built into phone with a carrier that only offers unlimited texting and WiFi calling capabilities to text unlimited while in an area with no cell service. Basically Whatsapp without Whatsapp

Pretty much. But that wasn't my point. With all these other established clients like Skype, etc. I just don't see how whatsapp caught up. Same with Kik. I had a friend who swore by it and I just didn't see the point. Its like texting except you have to sit there and make sure your photo or whatever goes through because lolnomultitask

The group chatting on Skype WP is crap and laggy. I use whatsapp for the groups im in and works like a charm. On top of that, we can have a title for the group chat and group chat profile pic.

Yeah, fbchat may have the same possibilities, but it's a very bad messenger app. It's just not the same. Whatsapp is the number 1 used app in pretty much whole Europe and a lot of other countries. The good thing about whatsapp is that it searches contacts based on the phone number saved in your phone. While in FB you have to add each other. And groupchats are much prettier and easier to use. Ofcourse you can send Photos, Videos, Location, etc... But I can understand it's different in the US. Europe is just much more expensive when it comes to calling/texting and data ussage is very limited as well. Most countries are still setting up 4G networks while Korea is already busy making 5G... But still, american carriers are the worst when it comes to free phone market. All those exclussive phones destroy a good market... And the fact carriers have more power than OEM's which make the phones... It's the direct oposite in Europe. Providers here have to try and catch up with all the new phones. But you'll never see exclussive phones. At least not since the first iPhones...

All your phone contacts are your Whatsapp contact automatically, since the first time you start the app. You don't need to add them one by one like in Skype or Facebook. Somewhat intrusive but very, very convenient. That, is the reason why Whatsapp is successful.

No, that is exactly the brilliance of it. Whatsapp is _very_easy_ to use, it does work even on WP.

One big part of it being easy is that it automatically tells you who you can send messages to, it is integrated to WP8 nicely (shar pics etc). it just works. Even my mum knows how to use it :-)

Now, with FB buying Whatsapp, I guess we need to choose if we let NSA automatically backup our messages or the GRU...

I do quite a bit of driving and instead of burning my minutes, I can send a quick voice note to someone and listen to the reply when I have time. I refuse to text while driving, but with WhatsApp, I press one button, record a voice note and off it goes. I can also send the same voice note to a group of people instead of doing a group attachment and all that.

For me it comes down to efficiency. It's just easier to press one button and send a voice than to use voice-to-text.

Says who? Ofcourse it will be like one of these you've mentioned. But I rather have an official then a unofficial.

Wasn't 23rd Feb, the date tweeted by Telegram for official app? I want Rudy to make a client. This is so perfect for him. He gets access to all APIs without any restriction and he can bring awesome features that no other telegram client on any platform has. Since third party clients are a highlight of Telegram, it is VERY essential our best man gets on it. But will he? Rudy can give us the best app in less than 10 days, if he wants to.

Even though I love Rudy's apps, he only builds the popular apps we are missing from other platforms. Since Telegram is coming to WP officially, Rudy has no need to make a client for it.

Awesome! Rudy can now concentrate on creating unique WP apps. The guy has unbelievable talent but lacks imagination..

I tried both Migram and Ngram and push notifications worked with neither of them :/ (L820).

Until the official Telegram client is out I give up with all the unofficial clients and go back to WhatsApp.

If anyone knows how to make push notifications work in telegram clients please share the mystery with the rest of us.

I had the same issue as well, but I noticed that the same apps (migram, ngram) worked fine using my secondary phone number on the same phone (Lumia 920, Germany).

 

What I did then, was to delete my telegram account (https://telegram.org/deactivate) and then sign up again. That fixed my toast notifications and it is working ever since. Another user on twitter had the same issue and he fixed it the same way.

Unfortunately, the procedure does not seem to work for me, irrespective of whether I use Ngram or Migram (Lumia 925, Switzerland).

I deleted my telegram acount, uninstalled the app, reinstalled it and set everything up again. But still, push notifications not working...

It doesn't work for me either. It seems we have to wait for a client that would be really running with a background task and make the push notification really work reliably.

I would contact telegram support.

Push notifications have absolutely nothing to do with a background task. zero. nada. zilch. So putting a background task into the clients wouldn't fix anything.

 

Push notifications work very reliable for me on Migram, Ngram and chatogram. No missed push messages so far. Once I deactivated my telegram account I was able to create a new one (You can see if your account was properly deactivated if you have to specify full name and photo) push messages worked instantly.

I prefer ngram, i like migram more for it's background feature, but the push notifications work only in ngram with my lumia 925

It doesn't matter how great Telegram is, you'll never get all your friends to move over. That's why facebook paid $19 billion for Whatsapp, its installed base will never be matched.

"It doesn't matter how great WhatsApp is, you'll never get all your friends to move over from BBM."  - Someone in Waterloo, 2 years ago

FTFY 

2 years ago BBM was only on Blackberry. It hasn't been on iOS and Android for a year yet (make that 6 months) and it still isn't on Windows Phone. Whatsapp has been around for almost 5 years and is on iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry, Symbian... Apples and Oranges.

But it's not really. Social apps are just fads these days. It's not clear that WhatsApp can sustain its growth nor that something else can't come along and do it better. 

What makes Whatsapp a fad? Five years of existence & 400 millions active users every month on every mobile platform. Just because you Americans never cared about Whatsapp doesn't make it a fad.

No, but how many instant messaging services, for mobile and otherwise, were "the" IM service to be on years ago, and are now mere shells of their former glory, if they even exist anymore?

Maybe not a fad, but it has huge competiton from the likes of Line and WeChat.  Line works on multiple devices too.  If Whatsapp doesn't keep up with the competition, it could be costly for FB.

Hi Dan,

when will whatsapp be updated? beta was released long time ago. I want custom notifications...

thank you. hope you enjoyed barcelona! :)

Its all about the fame. Whatsapp has the huge user base and unlike a phone market, people are just gonna use whatever messenger everyone else is using.

You don't see people migrating to Google+ from Facebook do you? Even though Google+ has better features.

Yeah. But after BBM available on Android and iOS, my work friends which usually group chat over Line now moved to BBM. I'm the only leftover that cannot join the group since it isn't available for WP ... Yet.

And most merchants in my country utilize BBM for receiving orders. Some add Whatsapp into it, but majority doesn't. So BBM still hold important role in my country.

So ... Even though they did move on from BB devices, they seem can't move on from BBM.
(-_-)a

None seem to have a working live time counter and no push notifications. There is also no background agent...

You might want to check your background tasks list, and block the ones that you don't care about getting notifications for. For example, I had a background task for Dictionary.com. Not at all useful for me, so I just now blocked blocked it.

Hmm, interesting point about background tasks.

You guys for whom Ngram push notification works - do you see Ngram in the list of background tasks?

For me Ngram notifications do not work and I cannot see Ngram in the background tasks list.

Lumia 820 in Czech Republic.

I had the same issue as well, but I noticed that the same apps (migram, ngram) worked fine using my secondary phone number on the same phone (Lumia 920, Germany).

 

What I did then, was to delete my telegram account (https://telegram.org/deactivate) and then sign up again. That fixed my toast notifications and it is working ever since. Another user on twitter had the same issue and he fixed it the same way.

Specify, please. It has the counter and notifications (at least Ngram does), but no background agent. Not a one TG app has now actually, that's the only reason I'm still with whatsapp. As soon as Evgeniy implements the background agent in his Ngram I move Ehatsapp away from my start screen.

Background agents not connected with push notifications at all.
All apps with push notifications may not have background agents.

no, the counter can be updated with a push notification and does not require a background agent. Otherwise, the app would only be able to update the counter ever 30 minutes.

 

Note that some apps require a backgrounf agent for notifications since they are not able to be registered as a push client (6snap, 6tag for example can't register for push notifications on the services)

Why do most of those apps look like clones of each other? As in, some of the screenshots seem to even be re-used?

Open source limits/enables common features. They're actually quite a bit different in usage.

From using them, if anything they all look a lot like WhatsApp.

Thanks Dan, I didn't realise they were all from the same open-source base.

I quite like the idea of Telegram, I'm considering building an 8.1 client when the new SDK comes out (for both phone and tablet).

That'd be great if someone makes a W8 client. There is a desktop one already, but RT can't run it, you know...
And about why they look identical: Durovs showed how they should look for the challenge. The point of it is to find the best working app of a certain design and declare it official.

Cool I'm interested and will look at it this weekend. Do you know where I can find the open source base? I'm not going to use it but would like to see an example in C# to help learn the API, as it's quite complex and not that well documented.

You will find everything available here, English language https://core.telegram.org/
But I'm not sure it's good for learning. Evgeny, developer of Ngram, says the telegram's documentation is very poor yet, you mostly have to try and see its functions instead of knowing the result.

Yeah, I've been looking at that but as you say it's very difficult to learn from. I could probably get into it once I figure out how to start calling the functions.

I had the same issue as well, but I noticed that the same apps (migram, ngram) worked fine using my secondary phone number on the same phone (Lumia 920, Germany).

 

What I did then, was to delete my telegram account (https://telegram.org/deactivate) and then sign up again. That fixed my toast notifications and it is working ever since. Another user on twitter had the same issue and he fixed it the same way.

 

(I am starting to spam this message apparently, so people will get notified I replied a sollution to their problem. Please don't hurt me! :p)

I'm not sure if we should just move on to Telegram. I downloaded a few days back to try it out but now I want to get rid of it.
Their encryption is not real, and is full of holes. I believe the blog "unhandled expression" explained it best. Also, it was discussed in the latest Security Now podcast in the Twit network and it's explained why is possible you may not want to trust this people.
I've not yet left but it's definitely something to consider if you care about security. And you should. :)

Because of the way the contest is set up it doesn't allow experts to counter Telegram's claims in the way that they should, I've been told. Having said that, having a contest is not a proof to security in any way. :)

We address that in the article and even link to a resource on it.

The claim is the encryption is weaker than it should, not that it's nonexistent or not functional.

Yes, I'm aware. I read it :) I was just referencing the two places where I believe this is covered the best in a way that is understandable by someone who is not an expert. And yes, the encryption exist, but in a way that is not weaker but actually has holes and some data is transmitted in plain text. As far as I understand, they don't have bad intentions, is just that they are using bad security solutions. ;)

In reality this is not generally true or at leas is heavily dependent on how flawed the encryption really is.

 

poor encryption can suggest a feeling of security where there is literally close to none. An extreme example would be a Plaintext encrypted with ROT13. Yes, you can't read the text but you can read it with very little effort.

 

But also a weak encryption could be a very sophisticated encrpytion algorythm (not a simple ROT13) that can be brute forced with very little effort. Brute Force will always be successfull, a good encryption will however be able to require the attack to take an immense ammount of time or a lot of processing power (think supercomputers)
 

i just listened to Security Now with Steve Gibson, and he described the encryption of Telegram as laughable.. Listen to Security Now 444 on twit.tv/sn or go to grc.com to get the written transcript, where he does a deep dive into why the encryption is so bad... until Telegram fixes it they should be considered no more secure than WhatsApp.

Agreed. Also, people are making a big deal over the fact that Telegram is backed by two private individuals. DOESN'T THAT MAKE ANYONE ELSE UNCOMFORTABLE???? Who are these guys? What proof do we have that they are doing what they say they are (or are not).

The whole free, always will be and without ads, thing raises a red flag for me. Someone's got to pay to keep the system running. Guess I'm a little too skeptical that one or two guys are footing the bill out of pure generosity.

Your doubts make sense, especially considering that Durov was saying the same about VK several years ago - "It will never have ads". Guess what...

In which statements? I can't recall that Microsoft's and Apple's product is stated to be free without caveats at all. Not even Google. So?

What about the big update of wapp?? The private beta was updated more than a week ago and still no wiggles about the public version. Anyone who heard something?

BBM will be here soon...it is FAR superior to Whatsapp and all the others. BBM's UI is leaps and bounds better, and so are the emoji's....Whatsapp's emoji's are a joke...and it's UI is meh.

Sooooo... the emoji makes that much of a difference??  :-/

I don't know a single person on BBM. Hell I don't really know any active Skype users. So won't your contact lists pretty much make the decision for you?

I don't understand why apps insist on providing their own Emoji? All the operating systems support it natively, and the WP emoji are so much nicer than any third party versions.

How many people use BBM and how many people use WhatsApp? Do the math. That's ok, we'll wait (we know the answer anyway.)
And you're going to judge a messaging app by the emojis? Wow...

Emoji's matter...they're like the main thing in any messaging app. If the emoji's suck (like Whatsapp)...it's all over. Might as well flush the app down the toilet...lol. You all are tools.

Many. A lot of people use BBM. At least in my country. But still, all people I chat frequently does not use it. So I stick with Whatsapp :)

Whatsapp is my main go to messaging app. Most of the ppl in my contacts use it. Plus it's good for group messaging. So no I'm not over whatsapp...

If username works for you, then fine.. I use what benefit and works for me. Whatsapp is what I use to communicate with family and friends back home in Jamaica on a daily basis.

Nice, I'll test those beta apps when I get home later tonight! I plan on keeping my Whatsapp and also using Telegram and BBM once it's out. Can't wait to see the big update on Whatsapp and the encryption holes of Telegram fixed. Thanks for the article, WPCentral team!

Mark monetised Facebook...and sold it. The Durov brothers are claiming this will be ad free - and completely free - forever.
That doesn't really 'ad' up!

Facebook did monetized. And Mark never said it would free, no ads forever. So I'm standing with lippidp and spinzero. Doubting that statement.

Why would someone be "over" WhatsApp simply because they got bought by FB? If anything, people should see it as a good sign that the two will become more integrated over time. That would bring together two very widely accepted environments. As long as I don't start getting game requests in my WhatsApp feeds, I'm ok with it and don't really see a need to look for an alternative. That's just me though.

I can only speak about germany here, but a lot of people have been concerned about facebook privacy for years and the fact that facebook collects and stores a lot of information about it's users and even people that do not have a facebook account. A lot of people used whatsapp over facebook chat because

-It didn't/doesn't require a facebook account (We'll see how that goes)

-You didn't provide facebook, who already knows a lot about you, with your chat history as well.

In Germany a lot of people have switched to alternative messaging service, mainly threema though, as this messaging service (based in switzerland) gets more propagated by german news media. Most sites only mention Kik, Viber, Threema and (ironically) Facebook Chat but leave out telegram completely. And when they report on telegram, they always claim it is part of VK - the "russian facebook".

Looks like no one I know uses Telegram, but several use WhatsApp, bur no one I communicate with on a regular basis is using either one. I'm I missing out on something or is it just because theses types of services are more popular outside of the USA?

we use whatsapp a lot in Spain (group chats with friends, family...) In UK is also very popular. a lot of people in spain has bought smartphones so that they can use whatsapp

Honestly, I can't be bothered to test another messaging app, let alone 5. Also, i don't know anyone who uses telegram anyway but I'll alert my pot dealer. This could be good news for him, and me ;)

when are they going to update whatsapp?? (I mean the custom tones tonifications, data control). beta was released long time ago.

for telegram I use migram

OMG you should not use Viber then, made by a Belarus and a Jew. Ex-soviet, you know, Lukashenko, whatever. Weird point, don't you think? I don't like Putin, too, but how the f%&k does he relate to TG?!

Americans, Russians, British, Germans, all of them are snooping, but do you really care if they even see your sex chats with your girlfriend? Thing is how does origination of messenger relate who exactly snoops it.

I think I'm just gonna stick to whatsapp... The only other app I'm waiting for is BBM, really not interested in what's out there

I always hated the name Whatsapp. The service is fine but the name sounds like a high school kid from 1998 came up with it.

Anyone tried Skypes own GroupMe, it has the same features and more. This should be a good time for Microsoft to promote GroupMe.

So the question is do they know in advance which one of these apps will end up being the official app or are they all in contention?

I can't use any of these apps because most of them dont even have my country listed (Dominican Republic) and the ones that have it listed only have one area code (809) while there are two others (829) and (824) and unfortunately mine goes with (829).

Hi Gilberto, try changing your marketplace region to USA to get the apps. Maybe it'll help. Once you get the apps installed, set back to the Dominican market. :)

I like Whatsapp...but I would prefer it if it used a username system. I also wish I could access it from multiple devices...and that picture/vid quality wasn't degraded so much.
There's definitely scope in the market for other competitors. Telegram certainly looks an attractive alternative

On and on only a painfully boring app for something fun sounding as what Sapp and they dare charge for something clearly inferior. Clean up your act, develops a innovative UI (Hire someone) then come at me for one time payment and ads. You are sunk and not even as good as lol ok wechat. Get with it.

Telegram needs a lot of work
1. Modern Ui (check out Group Me)
2. Option to post multiple pics at the same time
3. Option to preview pics before sending
Rudy Time. Make it happen RH.

Try using that when you are abroad.
Also, I find it useful knowing when the other person has read the message. I can also send videos, audio notes & my GPS location...
SMS is far inferior IMO

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