Mobile messaging and VoIP company, Viber Media has released version 4.0 of its platform, Viber on iPhone and Android with new features. Starting with this version, the company plans to monetize its app by selling stickers to monetise its app, an approach followed by Line. Viber’s sticker marketplace will offer both free and paid options for users and will apparently feature content related to events and holidays that will be regularly updated.
The latest version finally adds compatibility to Android tablets. It has also added Push To Talk feature for instant voice messaging that allows its users to send short voice messages to each other. Viber also claims that the four-step process of Push To Talk feature, which includes record, send, download and play, are all done at the same time thereby reducing its average response time to to 4-6 seconds, instead of 45-60 seconds. Viber is finally catching up with its competitors like WhatsApp by introducing this feature.
Some of the other features and upgrades on the platform include message forwarding to any group or contact, new conversation backgrounds and group conversations with up to 100 participants.
Viber currently allows users to send free text messages, photo messages, voice messages, share locations anywhere in the world, and make free, HD-quality calls on iPhone, Android phones and tablets, Windows Phone, Blackberry and other devices. It claims to have more than 200 million users in 193 countries.
India Numbers: Talmon Marco, Founder and CEO of Viber, recently told BGR India that the platform has 15 million users in India, although the exact number of active users was not disclosed. Mobile messaging app WhatsApp had recently crossed 25 million monthly active users in India. This is up from 20 million monthly active users in August 2013, indicating that WhatsApp has added five million monthly active users in just three months. Globally, WhatsApp had claimed to have 300 million monthly active users in August 2013.
VOIP plans & Challenges: Marco also told the publication of Viber’s plans to launch a facility allowing users to call non-Viber users on their phone numbers from the app which will become an additional revenue stream. It is worth noting that competitor Nimbuzz had recently launched a VOIP service in India by tying up with Spectranet, which already had a license for the same. Viber would require a similar license to legally operate a VOIP in India.
Earlier in August 2013, Viber also released an updated version of its Android app, adding support for Hindi and 15 other languages like Croatian, Czech, Danish, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian, Indonesian, Malay, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Slovak, Thai, Tagalog and Ukrainian among others.
Other competitors of Viber include Microsoft’s Skype, WeChat, Line, Plustxt, Gupshup messenger, Hike (in India), among others.