Technology with attitude

WeChat, Telegram, LINE and Viber: The Ultimate Call and Messaging App Face-Off

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The world of messaging apps is one of the fastest growing, with several apps available to choose from.

Apps that allow messages to be sent through data connections have now eclipsed the traditional SMS services. For instance, WhatsApp, one of the most famous of these types of apps, far surpasses the daily SMS average the world over. Considering their popularity and ease of use, there is a large market of users for companies to take advantage of. On the other hand, there are numerous options for the consumer to choose from. This paper reviews four of the newest and most popular messaging applications.

LINE

The launch of the line came during the Japanese earthquake of 2011, and the resultant crisis that came from the devastation caused by the tsunami. With telephone lines down and people desperately needing to communicate with each other, the developers of LINE saw a gap and developed a messaging service that could use available internet connections to pass messages. LINE has been so successful that it posted 200 million dollars in revenue in its past quarter alone.

LINE offers the typical messaging and video services. Additionally, it has expanded its service offerings to include the ability to send money to users and shop online, mostly for virtual goods like games. However, perhaps the biggest strength that LINE offers is the fact that it is associated with disaster management and relief efforts. In fact, recently, it was used to raise 500 million dollars for victims of natural disaster in the Philippines, through the sale of stickers. This Japanese app has taken the industry by storm, posting impressive performances faster than established industry giants like Facebook.

WeChat

WeChat is another application that represents the rise of Asia in terms of development and developers earning considerable revenues from them. In 2014, the Alibaba IPO was one of the most publicized events in Asia. However, in the midst of all the hype, WeChat stood strong against the growth of Alibaba on the mobile platform. WeChat has been lauded as one of the most powerful apps in the world, but it has somewhat of an unfair advantage. China has over a fifth of the population of the world, with internet users in the country alone being more than those in the US. It is now entering the emerging markets of India, South Africa, and South America.

Viber

Viber also allows users to send messages and make calls and video via their data connections. Calls and video chats can be one-on-one or group chat based, with the application supporting up to 29 languages. It allows registration through one’s Facebook account, removing the option of having to fill out tedious forms. Viber also offers such capabilities as favorite contacts, built-in translator and the ability to export data to email.

Telegram

Telegram is different, in that it uses the two-way opt-in method, with users having to accept friends before they can communicate. It is a smaller app and has a simple interface. It has such interesting features as self-destruct messages, reply functionality, and a dedicated website.