A few weeks ago, Nokia launched a WhatsApp phone that featured a special button that gives direct access to the messaging app. Now Path has cut a deal with Sprint to become a preloaded app in selected Samsung and HTC phones. The messaging app rivalry between half a dozen of major contenders is heating up as WhatsApp, Path, LINE, Tango, KakaoTalk, Viber and Kik vie for attention. Until now, major carriers have resisted supporting messaging apps too much, afraid of undermining their SMS volumes. More →
What makes Onavo’s AppRank chart so interesting is the sharp contrast it reveals compared to download charts. AppRank tells us what portion of iPhone owners use an app during a month; it describes actual engagement rather than how many consumers have downloaded an app. This is a crucial distinction, because consumers quickly lose interest in most apps they download, yet certain apps with small download volumes turn out to be highly addictive. The most important low-volume, high-engagement app cluster right now consists of new messaging apps gaining serious traction. Both Viber and Kik are hitting 5% engagement levels in America and are growing rapidly. More →
Perhaps the most fascinating trend in App Annie’s new March statistics is the transformation of the Google Play Android app store into a messaging app distributor. No fewer than three out of four biggest revenue generators in the non-game app chart are now messaging apps; LINE at No.1, WhatsApp at No.3 and KakaoTalk at No.4. The iPhone’s non-game revenue chart is a bit lighter on messaging app but still features LINE at No.1 and WhatsApp at No.8. More →
Nokia on Wednesday launched a WhatsApp phone that includes unlimited WhatsApp messaging rolled into the retail price. And the retail price is just $72. The Asha 210 has a dedicated WhatsApp button that gives instant access to the service. This is a bold move, since it effectively means the hardware is specifically designed to draw consumers away from SMS services, which are very lucrative for emerging market carriers. This move is the opening salvo in Nokia’s new bid to revive the flagging fortunes of its Asha feature phone line with new software features. More →
WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum has been talking at the D: Dive Into Mobile conference and he revealed some numbers about the company’s performance. The figures are certainly impressive: more than 200 million users and 12 billion outbound messages per day. In terms of active users, WhatsApp is now bigger than Twitter. Yet the company hit 11 billion outbound messages per day on New Year’s Eve, 2012. In August 2012, WhatsApp announced it was handling 6 billion outbound messages a day. Is the service’s messaging volume growth really decelerating this rapidly? From 6 billion outbound in August, to 11 billion in December, and then to 12 billion in April 2013. These are terrific volumes and they make WhatsApp one of the most fascinating and valuable app companies in the world… but its growth rate now seems to be falling quickly. More →
Rumors surfaced over the weekend that Google (GOOG) was in the midst of acquisition talks with messaging giant WhatsApp. Such a move would have been a big boost for Google and it reportedly would have given WhatsApp a billion-dollar payday. Unfortunately, the source was unproven and it looks like the rumor was completely false. AllThingsD spoke with WhatsApp’s business development boss and he flat-out denied that any talks had taken place. “Neeraj Arora, WhatsApp’s business development head, told AllThingsDigital today that the company is not holding sales talks with Google,” AllThingsD’s Liz Gannes wrote. The acquisition would certainly have been a big one for Google — WhatsApp recently announced a new milestone, stating that it processed more than 11 billion outbound messages this past New Year’s Eve.
Google (GOOG) and WhatsApp have reportedly been locked in negotiations about an acquisition for more than a month — and WhatsApp is pushing for nearly $1 billion valuation, Digital Trends recently reported. This sounds like a huge number, but even though WhatsApp has not released its user base estimate, it is widely assumed to be more than 300 million. This past New Year’s Eve, WhatsApp processed more than 11 billion outbound messages. The company has started counting outbound and inbound messages separately due to the popularity of its group chat feature that has been one of the cornerstones of its franchise. WhatsApp has become a massively popular service on all continents, but it is particularly big in Europe and Latin America where its market penetration among smartphone users tops 80% in countries including Brazil, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands and Germany. More →
WhatsApp has reigned as the undisputed messaging app champion across dozens of countries over the past two years. However, huge download volumes in all these countries doesn’t necessarily translate to high consumer engagement. A research firm called Mobidia has provided BGR with a fascinating comparison chart providing a direct engagement level comparison between WhatsApp and its major rivals in some of the biggest mobile markets. Mobidia chose a cut-off-point of 2 MB per month to make sure it is counting only consumers who truly use a messaging app actively. More →
BlackBerry’s (BBRY) app problem is about to get a little less severe. BlackBerry social media manager Alex Kinsella on Thursday posted an update to his Twitter account “predicting” that BlackBerry Z10 users will “be downloading WhatsApp” within the next week. Having WhatsApp on BlackBerry 10 is an important win for the new BlackBerry platform both because of its popularity in emerging markets and because it may help offset the impending loss of unlimited BlackBerry Messenger services in certain key markets. All that said, BlackBerry still has a long way to go when it comes to attracting top apps to its platform, especially in light of Netflix’s (NFLX) confirmation this week that it has no plans to make an app for BlackBerry 10.
As mobile operators across the world seek ways to cope with SMS volume erosion, two leading messaging services are now running neck and neck with triple-digit annualized growth rates. Apple (AAPL) announced on Wednesday evening during its first-quarter earnings call that its iMessage service is transmitting more than 2 billion messages a day. It has now topped 450 billion cumulative messages. Last June, Apple announced it was sending 1 billion messages a day and had reached 150 billion cumulative messages. This translates to roughly doubling the daily message volume in six months while tripling the cumulative message volume. The exact pace is impossible to estimate thanks to Apple’s deliberate vagueness. More →
Popular cross-platform texting app WhatsApp reduced its iPhone app from $0.99 to free on Thursday. The app now delivers 10 billion messages per day, which is no surprise considering how consumers are choosing to use app-based messengers instead of paying for texting. WhatsApp is so popular, Facebook (FB) is reportedly interested in acquiring it. While it’s true the Android version of WhatsApp is also available for free, that version requires a yearly $0.99 fee after the initial year. Still, WhatsApp’s advantage over Apple’s (AAPL) built-in iMessage is that it works across multiple mobile platforms. At zero dollars, WhatsApp is a no-brainer download if you don’t already have it on iPhone.
Facebook (FB) announced on Tuesday that it will begin opening Facebook Messenger to consumers who do not have a Facebook account, starting in countries like India and South Africa, and later rolling out the service in the United States and Europe. This is a belated acknowledgement of a staggering strategic mistake Facebook made two years ago. That is when the messaging app competition was still wide open and giants like Facebook or Google (GOOG) could have entered the competition. WhatsApp, the leading messaging app firm, had just 1 million users as late as December 2009. By the end of 2010, that number had grown to 10 million. Right now, it likely tops 200 million, though there is no current official number on the matter. More →
A report published over the weekend stated that Facebook (FB) is in talks to acquire WhatsApp. As a quick aside, TechCrunch for some reason claims that the most recent WhatsApp update on its messaging volume is 1 billion messages per day — in reality, WhatsApp reported this past August that it is handling 10 billion messages a day. What makes the WhatsApp story so compelling is the growth curve. The company announced the 1 billion message daily milestone in October 2011 and it took it just 10 months to vault to 10 billion messages a day. More →