Keeping in touch is important! You'd think with all the gadgets, connections, and devices we've got kicking around, it'd be a little easier. Yet somehow, it isn't.

Even deciding on the right chat app can be a herculean feat in and of itself, never mind sifting through all the notifications we're bombarded with on a daily basis. I'll help clear the air a bit.

Whether you want to keep in touch with loved ones or collaborate with colleagues, here are seven great cross-platform messaging apps you can use to keep in touch - both on your BlackBerry and elsewhere.

Signal Private Messenger

A supercharged secure messaging app available on Android, Windows, and Linux, Signal's tagline is "privacy that fits in your pocket." It's designed with user privacy front and center, with the ability to send group, text, voice, video, and picture messages without stepping outside the app's encryption.

There are also no long-distance charges in the app, which supports file sharing and timed message deletion. Best of all, Signal's totally free, and the fact that it's an open-source project means there's a ton of room for growth.

Fast, simple, secure

Signal Private Messenger

Signal allows you to send high-quality group, text, voice, video, document, and picture messages and make crystal-clear voice and video calls. There are no ads or tracking and communications are end-to-end encrypted.

WhatsApp Messenger

WhatsApp is one of the most popular IM apps in the world with an estimated 1.3 billion users, and for good reason. It's free. It's fast. It's got voice and video calling. There's even a version of WhatsApp designed with small business owners in mind, which can be augmented by a bunch of paid tools.

WhatsApp chats are encrypted end-to-end to protect your privacy, and you don't have to worry about ads getting in your way. To top it all off, the app works beautifully on all Android-based BlackBerry devices such as the KEY2. You can even set up two separate WhatsApp accounts on the same device with Dual Apps and Dual SIM!

Simple, Reliable messaging

WhatsApp Messenger

Being one of the most popular messaging apps, WhatsApp is packed with features. You can share messages, photos, video, documents and chat in groups that support up to 256 people at once. WhatsApp voice and video calls use your phone's Internet connection, so you never have to worry about minutes!

Slack

Slack is a whole lot more than just a messaging app. It's a platform for collaboration, with built-in file sharing, search, shared channels, reminders, RSS feeds, and the ability to integrate with a wide range of other apps like Google Drive, DropBox, and Salesforce. It's sort of a modern take on old-school IRC chats.

The free version of Slack is perfect for keeping in touch with friends and family, while the paid version is a powerful tool that's sure to make any workplace more connected and efficient. Like the other entries on this list, Slack also provides full voice and video chat. And it's all totally secure, too.

Teamwork in Slack

Slack

Teamwork happens in Slack. That's one of their slogans and it rings true. Slack can handle all your messaging, tools and files in one spot and makes team collaboration a breeze. If you're not using Slack, you're missing out!

Discord - Chat for Gamers

Discord sits at a weird intersect between a chat app and a social network - and it's incredible because of it. Anyone can create their own fully-functional server free of charge, with multiple voice channels, text channels, and user roles.

A thriving development community has created a ton of chat-bots that can do everything from play music to serve up cool facts about cats, and it supports group voice and video chat as well as screen sharing and file transfers.

If games are your thing, Discord's got a fast-growing library of PC titles to choose from. It can also be installed as either a mobile or a desktop app, both of which use the same account - switching between the two is seamless. The app's free by default, but there's a premium version that nets you access to stuff like custom emotes, free games, and increased size limitations for file sharing.

All-in-one voice and text chat

Discord - Chat for Gamers

Although Discord is aimed at gamers, it's also just a great messaging platform that offers all-in-one voice and text chat across Windows, iOS, Android, and Linux.

Telegram

A rising star in the IM space, Telegram's claim to fame is privacy and security. All messages sent through this cloud-based app are fully encrypted and can be set to self-destruct. It also allows you to send large files, set up secret chats, and

Security isn't the only thing Telegram does well, though. It's lightweight, it's fast, and it runs like a dream on pretty much every device. Best of all, it's totally free - the developers have gone on record as saying it's not intended to generate revenue, so you'll never have to worry about ads or subscription fees!

Telegram is being actively and aggressively developed, with new features being added on a regular basis - it's also got an open API, which means there's a whole world of possibilities for new add-ons and integrations!

Pure instant messaging

Telegram

With a focus on speed and security, Telegram offers all you would expect from a messaging app. You can send media and files without any limits on their type and size. Groups support up to 200,000 members and integrations such as Channels, Bots, stickers and more help keep Telegram fun to use. Plus, it's free and no ads!

Skype - free IM & video calls

With file sharing, screen sharing, SMS, and group voice and video, Skype is a powerful messaging app that's fully functional on both desktop and mobile.

If you plan to use it for business, it integrates effortlessly with Microsoft Exchange, meaning you can easily connect it to your Microsoft Outlook account. It also lets you set up your own low-cost Skype Number, with an area code situated just about anywhere in the world.

Businesses can have a Skype number for international clients. Everyone else, meanwhile, can have a phone number they can use to call friends and family abroad.

The next generation of Skype

Skype - free IM & video calls

Skype has been around for years and is a well-established offering but don't let that fool you into thinking it's not modern. Skype is powerful and offers file sharing, screen sharing, SMS, and group voice and video calls and so much more!

BBM Enterprise

Last, but certainly not least, there's BBMe (BlackBerry Messenger Enterprise). Recently made available to consumers by BlackBerry Limited, it's a powerful, security-focused enterprise messaging platform that offers secure text, voice, video, and group chat.

Right out of the box, it offers a ton of great privacy features like authentication via PIN, timed messages, retractable messages, and private chats. It's also usable cross-platform - you can access your BBMe messages across multiple devices, including your desktop PC.

Secure instant messaging

BBM Enterprise

BBM Enterprise is a highly-secure messaging platform you can use for all your group chats, voice, and video calls. Advanced features include the ability to edit, retract, or set an expiration time on a single message.

Which chat app is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!