Thursday, June 13, 2013

WhatsApp messaging use grows 50 percent in less than six months, to 27 billion sent / received daily

Popular instant messaging app WhatsApp has become 50 percent more popular in the last six months. The company announced late Wednesday that it had set a new record for messages sent in a 24 hour period: 27 billion (with a "B").

That is a 50 percent rise in less than six months. On the final day of 2012, the company announced its prior record: 18 million (yes, do the math; it is a 50 percent rise).

In detail, the record consists of 10 billion inbound messages from WhatsApp users and 17 billion received messages. For those now having a quizzical look on their faces, the figures don't match because of group messages. As an example, “sending one message into group chat of 10 people is 1:10 inbound:outbound,” the company explained.

WhatsApp is just one of the new of instant messaging apps that allow end users to avoid SMS (and its expense) yet still send free textual and multimedia messages. It is available for a number of platforms, including iOS, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, Asha, Symbian and more. Two key platforms are missing: Windows and Mac OS X.

There have been calls for the company to provide a desktop version so that users don't need to keep their mobile device on-hand during the day, when they might be working on a desktop PC or laptop. WhatsApp has eschewed that version, saying that its focus is mobile. In March, CEO Jan Koum doubled down on that statement, saying that "at least for now," there will be no desktop client.

He also indicated that the iOS version would be moving away from its current $0.99 one-time price to a model mimicking other platforms. That model makes WhatsApp use free for a year, and $0.99 a year afterward. Recurring revenue is always preferable to a one-time fee; just ask any security firm.

BlackBerry once dominated the space, and says its BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) service has 60 million users who send and receive some 10 billion messages each day. The Canadian company recently revealed that it is opening up BBM to other platforms, and that it is currently working to get its BBM software pre-installed on devices running rival platforms.

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