Skype launches BlackBerry 10 preview, but only for Q10 owners at first (Original)
For all the hullabaloo about Skype coming to BlackBerry 10, there wasn't much to show at the Z10's launch beyond a logo. We've got more to work with today -- sort of. A preview version of Skype has indeed popped up in BlackBerry World with voice, video and instant messaging like we've seen on other platforms. However, no one in the general public can actually use it yet: the app requires BlackBerry 10.1, which won't reach the market until the Q10 ships to Brits and Canucks. That leaves Americans and Z10 owners in the lurch for a few weeks, although they can at least see the light at the end of the VoIP tunnel.
Source: BlackBerry World…
MightyText, “The iMessage for Android,” Targets iCloud With New Cross-Device Photo And Video Sync (Original)
Today, our lives are spread across a growing array of digital devices, from smartphones and laptops to tablets and connected TVs. While each device tends to perform certain tasks better than others, as we use tablets to read books and shop, laptops for work-related tasks and smartphones to check the weather, stocks and email, increasingly, our devices are working together in concert and becoming interchangeable by keeping us connected to the cloudy Web. Yet, in spite of the fact that we live in an increasingly connected and multi-platform world, when it comes to texting, we find ourselves locked in to our phones.
As former Googlers, Maneesh Arora and Amit Sangani set out to develop a solution for those who find themselves sending and receiving text messages and phone calls all the live-long day, while, in turn, giving Android users an open, cross-device equivalent to Apple’s iMessage. In 2011, the two co-founded and launched MightyText, a cross-platform app that today works natively on Android tablets and phones (and as an extension for Firefox and Chrome), and allows Android-ers to view and reply to texts regardless of what device they happen to be using.
Given our growing reliance on our digital gadgets, by offering a tool that allows users to send SMS, MMS and make calls from your PC, Mac, Kindle, Galaxy S III and even your iPad, MightyText has been quick to find an audience and has grown steadily since launching officially in July of last year.…
TokBox Brings WebRTC To The Cloud, Enables Multi-Party Video Chats & SIP Interop (Original)
Telefonica’s TokBox announced a huge upgrade to its OpenTok on WebRTC service today. TokBox’s new cloud-based Mantis media distribution framework is designed to overcome some of WebRTC’s limits with regard to video distribution. By default, WebRTC is a peer-to-peer platform, but that makes it hard to scale video chats beyond two participants. With Mantis, TokBox essentially puts its own cloud infrastructure in the middle of these calls and is then able to route and manage calls that include multiple participants without using a prohibitive amount of bandwidth and using a complicated mesh-based architecture.
In the future, as TokBox CEO Ian Small told me earlier this week, this will also enable TokBox to shape video streams according to the different users’ bandwidth conditions and the developers’ needs. “With Mantis, what we’re doing is putting smarts into the WebRTC infrastructure,” Small said. “Today, we’re routing traffic. Tomorrow, we’ll shape traffic.”
On cool feature Mantis already enables today is SIP interop, so developers will actually be able to write WebRTC-based apps that allow users to call in from their standard phone lines. This, for example, is useful for video conferencing services where you can now have a number of WebRTC-based video streams and a few participants on regular phone lines simultaneously.…
Facebook Messenger for Android: now with free stickers (Original)
Emojis not giving that missive the right oomph? A Facebook Messenger for Android update has brought stickers into that mix with characters like cats and aliens, lending your chat head conversation just the right dose of nuance. It popped up yesterday as a hidden feature, but now you can download the final version at Google Play (at the source) -- then, just click on the smiley icon in the text input box to start dropping the cute bombs.
Source: Facebook (Google Play)…
Nokia Puts WhatsApp Hard Key On $72 Asha 210 For Asia, Africa; Qwerty S40 Handset Gets Facebook Button In Europe, Latam (Original)
Nokia has announced another handset in its Series 40-based Asha portfolio of low end mobiles which compete with the budget end of Android and cheap BlackBerrys. The 2G-plus-Wi-Fi Asha 210, due to ship before the end of Q2, packs a physical Qwerty keyboard and comes painted in Nokia’s now trademark eye-popping colours (yellow, cyan, magenta), plus black and white. But the most notable addition to this BlackBerry-esque device is a hardware key on the front that short-cuts to messaging app WhatsApp — which, extending the BlackBerry comparison, is the phone’s BBM replacement.
As well as the ability to fire up WhatsApp by long pressing on this dedicated key, Nokia said Asha 210 buyers will get a free subscription to the messaging service for the lifetime of the device. On the Series 40 platform, WhatsApp normally charges a $0.99 annual fee after a first year of free use. Last week the messaging service said it now has north of 200 million monthly active users (this compares to BBM’s more modest 60 million). Tapping into the hugely popular social messaging craze is clearly Nokia’s aim here.
Kik Raises $19.5M Series B, Bets On Its Cards Platform Play To Take On WhatsApp And Others (Original)
Kik has raised a $19.5M Series B funding round, the company revealed today, led by Foundation Capital and including RRE Ventures, Spark Capital and Union Square Ventures. The Waterloo-based messaging app company will be using the funding to help continue to support its growth, and the new injection of cash comes at a crucial point for the company as it sets its sights on broader platform ambitions with the recently introduced Cards feature.
I spoke with Kik CEO Ted Livingston about the funding, and asked him specifically about what he thought of WhatsApp’s announcement from last week that it was now larger than Twitter in terms of active monthly users. Kik, which recently crossed the 50 million user milestone and is adding on new ones at a rate of about 200,000 per day, is far behind WhatsApp in terms of its user base, but Livingston said Kik is much more focused on the long-term goal of what comes next for a messaging app than its most direct competitor.
“There are two sides to it. On one side, they’re massive, they’re killing it, no question they’re bigger than Twitter. There never was a question in my mind that they’re bigger than Twitter,” he said.…
Best instant messaging clients (Original)
Looking for a good instant messaging program? Check out this list to see the five chat clients we like the best.…
Facebook is appealing to its Asian users with messaging, emoticons, and stickers (Original)
Aside from Chat heads, the latest iOS update for the Facebook app also has giant stickers that will certainly appeal to the emoji-loving market.…
WhatsApp reaches 20 billion messages a day, CEO calls it “Bigger than Twitter” (Original)
With 20 billion messages going through the service every day, you’ve gotta wonder if WhatsApp will be seen down the road as the app that killed the messaging fee.…
Google Ventures-Backed Messaging Startup, Just.me, Launches iOS App In 155 Countries/32 Languages, Aiming To Rattle Social’s Cage (Original)
Following its beta launch at the end of January, just.me, the mobile messaging startup from Keith Teare, co-founder of TechCrunch and partner at incubator Archimedes Labs, has launched its first app, available initially for iPhones and iPod Touch. Just.me had planned on an earlier release of the app but said today it held back so it could launch at DEMO Mobile to garner more attention.
As with any messaging app, just.me’s usefulness is commensurate with the number of friends fully on board with the service so getting the word out to drive app downloads is now priority number one for its founders. Just.me does support messaging going outside its bounds, to non-app users, but to access the full suite of features conversation participants need to join in.
Just.me also has a more complex feature-set than the average messaging app, so arguably has more work to do to educate potential users and convince them it’s worth sticking with it through the learning curve. Rather than focusing on selling itself as just a (free) messaging service, as some of its messaging rivals have, just.me has grander ambitions: it’s agitating to replace centralised social networks with the contacts in your phonebook plus its tabbed sharing structure.…