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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

How IM is killing SMS - Times of India

The recent report that telecom operators lost $13.9 billion in revenue to social messaging applications has got many wondering if SMS is dying. It may be early to write off SMS, but it's a fact that IM apps like Nimbuzz, Fring, WhatsApp and others are gaining popularity.

Their biggest advantage is messaging and calling friends who are using the same app free of cost. Even if the other person is not using the app, the cost is minimal. Fring dropped call rates last week.

Nimbuzz Ping helps users save on even data charges. Says Vikas Saxena, CEO, Nimbuzz India, "It allows users to appear online and available to their contacts even when the Nimbuzz app is closed. When contacts want to reach them, Nimbuzz Ping delivers free SMS prompting users to log in to Nimbuzz and communicate." Users can also play games, compete with friends, check live cricket scores, get astrology forecasts. You can also video chat and chat in groups.

IM apps are booming --WhatsApp users sent more than 2 billion messages daily, up from 1 billion in October; Pinger users sent 2 billion messages in January, up from 1.7 billion in December; some 150,000 new users register daily on Nimbuzz, which has 15 million users from India.

One reason for the popularity of IMs is convergence -- you can add Google Talk, Facebook,Yahoo IM, Windows Live IM etc - - a huge convenience when your buddies are on different platforms. For example, you may be a regular Facebook user, but your close friends are on Google Talk and Yahoo! Messenger. You can still chat with all of them via one app like Nimbuzz, even if they are not on Nimbuzz -- "a one-stop shop for all communication needs of a user," as Saxena puts it.

But there are downsides. One, many apps are heavy and if your mobile is low on space and memory, they could slow down the device. Two, since they need a data plan, IM apps are only as good as the connectivity, which in turn depends on the device and network provider. Three, keeping the app on for long could drain the battery. And four, shared files could be infected, harming the device and compromising information.

In a fight back, telecom operators in France, Italy, Germany and South Korea are testing a messaging system called Joyn. This will come embedded on all phones, and users can chat, and share files. But Joyn is a long way off.

SMSes will be around, but its usage will drop as data plans become cheaper and sophisticated devices become affordable.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Nimbuzz for iOS

Nimbuzz for iPhone 4 (iOS4) compatible devices has been upgraded, which includes a good number of enhancements, bunch of new featuers, some minor bug fixes and tweaks, as well as the interface and functionality improvements. The just released version of the Nimbuzz client brings online presence to phonebook (see which of your phonebook contacts are online with Nimbuzz), free SMS invites (Invite all your friends for free to Nimbuzz via SMS). However, since Nimbuzz uses your internet connection, incremental data charges from your provider will apply. We therefore strongly recommend to use the mobile client only with a flat-rate data plan or free Wifi connection.
Here is what you can expect from the new update: 
  • Be online 24×7 - so all your friends can get in contact with you at any moment
  • Multitasking – run Nimbuzz in the background while listening music, watching a movie or checking your email
  • Answer the calls you get on Nimbuzz while it runs in background.
  • Continue the call – while navigating through other apps.
  • Hide call screen - to continue chatting
  • Super fast app switching – only 2 clicks to access Nimbuzz, whatever you do!
  • Very fast push notifications - no more reconnecting
Download Nimbuzz update for iPhone 4 
Another cool thing about the new app is a new feature in the keypad tab. If you dial a number it will automatically show the NimbuzzOut calling rateso you know how much will you pay per minute before you hit call