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The best messaging apps on Windows Phone

When Windows Phone first launched back in 2010 there weren’t too many messaging apps available. Over the years we’ve seen most major messaging platforms join the ecosystem. Today we have great services like WhatsApp, Skype, Kik, Facebook Messenger, Line, GroupMe and Telegram. Others, like BBM, are on the horizon and will join Windows Phone sooner than later.

We’re curious though as to which messaging platform you use the most. We also want to know which messaging platform you prefer. It’s completely possible to have a different app that you prefer over one that you use the most. The majority of your friends might be communicating through FB Messenger, but you’d prefer if they were on something else like WhatsApp or Telegram.

We’re going to look at seven major messaging platforms today. Skype, Telegram, GroupMe, WhatsApp, Kik, Facebook Messenger and Line are being given our full attention. They’re the apps we see the Windows Phone community coalescing around the most.

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There are more messaging platforms and services than you can count. We’ve got Skype, WhatsApp, iMessage, Kik, BBM, and others all vying to rule the roost. Which is best really comes down to which one your friends and family are using. We’re fans of Skype and WhatsApp around here, but a lot of folks dig Kik.

What’s the latest on the app? Well curiously enough, it’s now listed in the Nokia Collection. What’s that mean? Let’s find out.

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If you're sitting around waiting for an update to Kik Messenger for Windows Phone, it may be some time before you see an update notification for the popular IM app. That's the bad news.

Why? According to Kik Messenger CEO Ted Livingston the app hasn't been updated to Windows Phone 8 due to Microsoft not supporting Webkit standard in Windows Phone 8. Webkit is an open source HTML 5 standard that is supported by iOS and Android. Without support for Webkit, it becomes more difficult and challenging for Kik to update to a Windows Phone 8 version.

But all is not lost....

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Kik has announced the company (and popular messaging service) has crossed the 50 million user marker. Congratulations to them indeed. The only issue is their lack of support for Windows Phone. Those of us who have used the service on Windows Phone in the past have enjoyed a strong experience, but the company has no immediate plans for a Windows Phone 8 version.

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Well, color us disappointed. After nearly one year since the last update, the team behind Kik Messenger on Windows Phone recently revealed (via an email correspondence) that they don’t have a speedy proposal for a Windows Phone 8 update. (The app does work for Windows Phone 8, though it fails to take advantage of any new features and there are a few lingering issues with reliability). 

Reader of the site Jonathan S. emailed support over the need for a Windows Phone 8 update, noting how notifications have become unreliable (true) and there haven’t been any updates or additions since February of 2012 (also true).

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Last time Kik Messenger, the popular IM app that we use a lot around here, received an update was way back in October. That was the big Mango update which was very popular due to all the new features.

Just now we got the notice that version 2.1 is on the Marketplace though there's no changelog to be found, leaving us to guess what has been altered. The one thing we notice right away is it seems faster to us e.g. a "performance update" but we're human and prone to placebo effects, so perhaps not. Other than that there's no new features to be found which is a bit dissapointing...then again we're really not sure what we're missing either.

Update: As noted in comments by ptosan, their blog has the details:

"Now, you can have longer conversations without interruption and the app (conversations, included!) will load faster. We’ve also updated the keyboard for smoother typing. We’ve taken measures to improve the overall WP7 experience and performance."

Grab Kik here in the Marketplace for free.

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This is interesting indeed. Kik, the cross-platform messenger, has seen a pretty neat ROI (return of investment) from investing in Windows Phone 7 since being released earlier this year. Not in terms of revenue, but user registration on iOS and Android. Yes, you read correctly - Kik for Windows Phone is reportedly boosting the user growth on other platforms.

Looking at the chart above we can see the point where the WP7 app was launched with the user count line for both iOS and Android. Notice the sharp increase? Can this be mere coincidence, or is it because WP7 users are now using Kik with friends on competing platforms that don't currently have an account?

If we look at the small graphic to the right, we can see how WP7 has been boosting the growth for iOS and Android by around 22%. While Microsoft's platform might not massive in terms of market share, it's certainly a socially connected OS and users are more connected.

Kik Interactive CEO, Ted Livingston, concludes:

"Windows Phone users may be a small segment of the whole, but they bring with them all their friends on other mobile platforms, creating a huge and unanticipated spike in Kik activity. 

It’s time for cross-platform apps to start paying attention to Windows Phone 7."

Some strong words there. The future certainly is looking bright and this is exactly what we need prior to the launch of Mango.

Source: TechCrunch

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Kik Messenger for WP7 has received its first update, bringing it to version 1.1.  While the patch does not bring any major new user-facing features to the table, it does resolve a couple of significant bugs that were present in the initial release.  The most noteworthy addition to v1.1 is SSL encryption.  If you'll recall, IT specialist, Mike Cardwell, reported that though passwords were encrypted within Kik, messages themselves were sent in plain text.  The developers later added SSL encryption in Android, Blackberry and iOS, but upon launching Kik for WP7, SSL remained absent.

The other fix worth mentioning is a resolution to the ".co.uk bug."  Users trying to register on Kik for WP7 using an email address ending with ".co.uk" were unable to do so.  A workaround was quickly found, but it's nice to know that it is no longer needed.

Kik is a great messaging app that's gotten that much better, so check it out here.

Source: Kik

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Kik is here, but there's a slight issue that we picked up on a while back when it was released. Being in the UK I attempted to use my .co.uk email address. Unfortunately Kik seems to have a slight issue with registering email addresses using this country code.

Fortunately, after much frustration, I used my GMail address and of course it worked. I don't really use my Google account for email so I decided to have a good look through the settings within the app and sure enough there's an option to change the account email address. Entering my .co.uk address seemed to work and I received an email from Kik confirming the change.

It seems as though it's limited to registration only, so use a .com email for signup and then simply make the change in the app settings. Job done! Kik have said they are working on the fix. Are you using a country code which is not .com and are experiencing the same issue? Let us know in the comments.

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While nothing to be fearful about, I wouldn't recommend sending your bank account number and sort code via Kik Messenger for Windows Phone anytime soon, not that you would anyway. While the user's password is sent either hashed or encrypted, it's reported that Kik is sending user email addresses and messages in clear-text, viewable by any middle man, over an open connection (i.e. unsecured WiFi).

Mike Cardwell, a well established IT specialist, reported a year ago how Kik was insecure with Blackberry, Android and iOS. Kik has since resolved these issues this year and have commented on an article over at Within Windows covering the WP7 client:

 "Hi Rafael, Corry from Kik here. Thanks for your analysis.We are aware of this issue and plan to add WP7 message encryption in a future release. We want to reiterate that the password is not being sent in clear-text, and that our Android and iPhone clients feature full SSL encryption (login info + messages), as Mike Cardwell mentioned in his comment."

At least our passwords are safe, although we do recommend using multiple passwords for your online accounts, especially between social networks and e-commerce sites. Hopefully security will be added for emails and messages in Kik at some point in the near future. Use over 3G should be fine since the signal is encrypted.

Source: Within Windows and Mike Cardwell, thanks insi for the tip!

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Good news everyone, Kik Messenger is finally live in the Marketplace (see website).

We've been playing around with it for the last few days and have been very impressed with the mobile instant messaging solution. To refresh, Kik messenger is a proprietary IM service designed for mobile use, is available on the iPhone and Android, boasts over 4 million users and is completely free.

So why use it over something like IM+ (see video tour)? In our mind it's simple: Kik is much faster to load, use and more importantly send/receive messages. It's the closest thing to BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) with its Sent, Delivered and Received statuses. From our experience, it's the most reliable and fastest IM client we have used yet on a mobile device: with push notifications (Live Tile, Toast), messages are received in less than 10 seconds nearly every time--truly a great experience.  Sure, it's not a multi-client system like IM+ and means you would have to try and get your friends on it, but so far we think it's worth it for mobile use, especially for communicating with those internationally. It's also $10 cheaper i.e. free.

Watch our video tour and then give the app a spin yourself and let us know what you think. You can grab Kik right here in the Marketplace. (Thanks, Mike A., for the tip)

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We previously covered reports of Kik coming to the Windows Phone platform by the end of June. We can now confirm this with Twitter user @AmTheGuy queryring the Kik team for any updates on the development status and an ETA of arrival to the Marketplace. The response received was fairly positive (as shown above).

Kik - of course - has IM+ to indirectly contend with, but with the somewhat negative reception that IM+ has received (price upsetting some of our readers) Kik should be welcomed with open arms should the price tag be reasonable. After the break, check out the video play through of Kik below to refresh your memory of the demo at MIX '11.

Source: @AmTheGuy

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Kik Messenger for WP7 due "within a month"

We first caught wind of Kik Messenger for Windows Phone 7 during MIX11. At the time, it wasn't too clear when the popular messaging service would be available on our platform i.e. pre-Mango or during Mango launch?

Now it looks like they've answered on their Facebook account--all it took was someone to ask:

Alejandro Aguilera Rivera: Are you guys (by any chance) working on a Windows phone 7 app? is it possible? :D?

Kik Interactive, Inc.: You will see it within a month :)

So that sounds good to us. In fact, the race between IM+ and Kik seems to be heating up as we're expecting releases from both companies relatively soon, giving Windows Phone users some new options. Not to mention, there's that whole Mango-Live Messenger/Facebook Chat integration coming too.

Source: Facebook; Thanks, Alejandro, for the tip!

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