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The Granddaddy Of Messaging Apps, WhatsApp, Finally Goes For A Subscription Model on iOS (Original)

whatsapp

While messaging has become a veritable war with apps like Line, KakaoTalk, WeChat, Path and Facebook Messenger across Asia and Western markets, there’s been one longstanding app that’s presided over the space with very few apparent changes.

WhatsApp, the Sequoia-backed messaging app that dominates in Europe and that is often tipped as an attractive acquisition candidate for companies like Google and Facebook, just went freemium finally on iOS. The app has been paid for years on the iPhone at a $0.99 price point.

But today it went free with an annual subscription fee of $1 after the first year. This isn’t really a surprise as CEO Jam Koum talked about this several months ago. It brings WhatsApp’s business model on iOS in line with other platforms like Android, BlackBerry, Nokia and Windows Phone.

The paid app business model is really a vestige of an older era when developers would sell their work up-front. But over time, many paid apps have made the switch toward going free with paid features. Games really triggered this wave, but other high-usage apps like messaging have gone for a freemium strategy.

Japan’s Line, for example, made $58.9 million in the first quarter of this year in Japan through in-app purchases and sales of stickers — which apps like Path and Facebook Messenger have subsequently copied.…

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Vonage Co-Founder And VoIP Pioneer Jeff Pulver’s Next Call: Zula, A WhatsApp For Business (Original)

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Today, whether it be via Skype or Gmail, making phone calls over the web has become part of our daily routine. While the name may not ring any bells for younger generations, Jeff Pulver is one of the pioneers of that very technology we take for granted. A co-founder of Vonage, one of the biggest and earliest VoIP companies around, Pulver is a self-described futurist, serial entrepreneur and long-time evangelist for VoIP technologies. But lately he’s been largely absent from the space he helped create.

But now the Vonage co-founder is throwing his hat back into the ring as an entrepreneur with Zula, a startup and app by the same name that aims to revolutionize team communication for an increasingly mobile world — for those who’ve grown up on smartphones and social networks.

Put simply, Zula, which is still in stealth, is one of that class of business products that is looking to capitalize on the surge of consumer apps that younger people, weaned on smartphones instead of rotary dials, have used for their first forays into virtual communications with others. Pulver wants Zula to follow them into the working world. No surprise then that they’ve privately been calling it the “WhatsApp for businesses

To do that, Pulver has teamed up with co-founder Jacob Ner-David, a serial entrepreneur and communications technology veteran in his own right, who, among other things, co-founded Delta Three, a VoIP provider that he led through a $1 billion IPO on NASDAQ.…

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WhatsApp popularity continues to grow, hits 250 million active users (Original)

Cross-platform messaging service WhatsApp continues to grow in popularity, with the company announcing this week that its user base recently crossed the 250-million mark.…

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WhatsApp Still Killing It By Messaging Volume Despite Free Rivals Crowding In (Original)

WhatsApp

Along with Skype, WhatsApp is the granddaddy of the mobile messaging app space. But despite its relative great age (~47 months), certainly compared to the myriad messaging newcomers, it appears to be continuing to build usage momentum. Earlier today WhatsApp announced a new daily messaging metric record, following on from its recent “bigger than Twitter” boast. Its new daily high is 10 billion+ inbound (sent) messages and 17 billion+ outbound (received) messages — making for a total of 27 billion+ processed missives in 24 hours.

The reason for the inbound/outbound discrepancy is down to WhatsApp’s group chat feature which means one sent message can be seen by multiple participants. Group chat in WhatsApp still refers to message-based comms since it doesn’t support VoIP calls (although it does offer the ability to send audio notes — so keeping true to its messaging ethos).

Back in April WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum told the AllThingsD Dive Into Mobile conference that the messaging app was seeing an average of 8 billion inbound, and 12 million outbound messages per day, so its new daily record is still within touching distance of those averages. Still, it does indicate WhatsApp is continuing to build momentum, despite all the additional (free) competition in the messaging app space. …

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Nokia Puts WhatsApp Hard Key On $72 Asha 210 For Asia, Africa; Qwerty S40 Handset Gets Facebook Button In Europe, Latam (Original)

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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.

Nokia describes the Asha 210′s WhatsApp hardware key as a “world first”, although we’ve seen the mobile maker (and othersstick a Facebook button on a phone before. …

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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.…

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WhatsApp “Bigger Than Twitter” With Over 200M Monthly Active Users, 8B Inbound And 12B Outbound Messages Daily (Original)

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WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum was on stage today at the AllThingsD Dive Into Mobile conference in New York City, where he said that the app is now larger than Twitter by monthly active users. He wouldn’t say exactly how many the company had, just that it was north of 200 million users.

Koum also noted that the messaging app now sees an average of 8 billion inbound, and 12 million outbound messages per day, and with less than 50 engineers, the highest ratio of active users per long-term employee today of any active tech company.

Twitter noted that it hit its own 200 million monthly active user count back in December, while WhatsApp noted in January that it had reached the 7 billion inbound messages per day milestone. To some extent, comparing the two is a bit like comparing apples and oranges, but recent evidence suggests that social networking tools like Facebook and Twitter are losing the attention of younger users, who are turning to platforms like WhatsApp instead.

Koum said that the company has yet to see any drop off in user numbers or engagement resulting from their recent decision to start charging $0.99 per year, which means that right now WhatsApp has a pretty ideal combination of user growth, user activity and inbound revenue.…

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Where does a WhatsApp acquisition fit into Google’s new messaging plan? (Original)

Google WhatsApp
News of a closed door negotiation with WhatsApp may change the course of Google's upcoming unified communications tool, Babble.…

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Rumor: Google negotiating $1 billion acquisition of WhatsApp (Original)

An inside source tells us Google is 4 or five weeks into negotiating a billion dollar acquisition of mobile messaging app, WhatsApp. The hugely popular messaging app has been in the M&A rumor mill before, but Google's growing interest in filling out its mobile platform - and its very deep acquisitions pocket - suggests this is more than just water cool talk.…

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Are WhatsApp messages free abroad? (Original)

How to send and receive messages when you travel

WhatsApp went free on the App Store during the holiday season to contend the pushing competition from Viber, Line and others. Being able to text other users without having to pay is a treat that has attracted million of users from every platform, keeping WhatsApp as the king of the messengers for now. There's no charge to use the service, at least on iOS, but there's an associated cost to your connection. Is WhatsApp really free?

WhatsApp needs to access the internet to be able to work; some type of connection needs to be available to send and receiving messages. In the case of the iPhone, this boils down to two options you're already using.

Understanding cellular data vs. WiFi

Just to be clear, cellular data is the internet access you get from your mobile operator either on prepaid or contract from companies like AT@T, Verizon, Vodafone, T-Mobile, Orange, EE… Depending on your plan, you're likely to receive a certain amount of data — measured in MB — included every month or, perhaps, you pay directly for the usage. You know that bill every month with your smartphone calls, SMS and data?…

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