Anyone not using WhatsApp? The mobile messaging app ecosystem is growing swiftly. Despite WhatsApp which is still dominant in almost all the markets in the world, the landscape is highly geographically fragmented with different messaging apps in different regions.
There are so many of them, and it’s hard to decide which one to use. To help you, here’s a look at five of the mobile messaging apps I find interesting.
1. Line: Owned by a South Korean company, Line is the number one mobile messaging and voice calling app in Japan with more than 300 million registered users globally. Line offers a lot of extra features such as:
– games you can play with your Line friends (you have to download the games seperately)
– built-in camera app with filters for sharing photos
– idiosyncratic cartoon characters and stickers that serve as emoticons
– creating albums together with your Line friends for each chat
– available as a desktop app as well
– official accounts (paid accounts) that serve as ads
The stickers, paid accounts and games provide a great revenue stream for Line. Moreover, the company’s revenue was $157 million in the third quarter of 2013.
2. MessageMe: Launched officially in March 2013 focuses on multimedia and context. Through the chat, you can send music from iTunes, videos on YouTube, picture from Google images and voice recordings. The concept of “doodling”; in other words, drawing on photos makes the experience more fun. When someone sends you an image, you can make drawings on it and send it back. Personally, I use MessageMe to play pictionary (word guessing game from drawings)
3. Kik: Having reached the miletstone of 100 million registered users, Kik is a Canada based mobile messaging app that allows you to send short text messages and photos to your friends. The app differentiates itself from the competitors with HTML-5 powered Cards. The Cards let Kik users play games, doodle, find videos and a lot more without leaving the app or downloading anything extra (unlike Line).
4. Tango: Founded in 2009 by Uri Raz and Eric Setton, Tango has first positioned itself as a “mobile video chat app” that lets users make video and voice calls. After introducing text messaging, photo-sharing, finding people nearby and in-app games, tango has become a social platform with more than 150 million users.
5. WeChat: Launched in October 201 in China, WeChat now has more than 300 million registered and 250
million active users globally. Just like Whatsapp, WeChat has the following features: text messaging, hold-to-talk voice messaging, broadcast messaging, photo/video sharing and location sharing. WeChat is seeking its services beyond just messaging, social networking and entertainment. Moreover, they are planning to take a step further towards mobile commerce, meaning selling items via its app. Brands like Nike and McDonalds already have official WeChat accounts.
I have a rather conventional taste; therefore, due to its simplicity, I prefer Whatsapp. I use Viber for voice calls and MessageMe for fun!