messenger

The popular mobile communication and social networking app WeChat has been updated to version 4.0. The Windows Phone client has been bumped to include further support for Windows Phone 8, Microsoft's latest mobile platform. Already available for Windows Phone 7.5, WeChat can now be utilised by those running new or legacy hardware.

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We reported on the demise of Microsoft’s long serving Messenger instant chat and video calling service some time back. If you are already an existing user then you’ll have been greeted with pop up notices urging you to update to Skype over the last month or so.

Seems like Microsoft is now putting the word out in full, an official email was sent to users today explaining what you’ll need to do and how long the service will continue to work for.

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IM+ Pro released for Windows 8

Shape has released IM+ for Windows 8 to compliment the already available free IM+ app on the platform. The pro version of the popular messaging service sports a number of features that aren't available in the standard free app that's available. In both apps, major IM services are supported, including MeinVZ, Jabber, Fetion, Renren, SINA Weibo, Mamba.Ru, Yandex chat and more.

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Skype gets snappy with latest update on Windows 8

It wasn’t that long ago that Skype was updated for Windows 8 and we’re glad to see that they are working hard to bring us all the features we want. Bit by bit. The latest update to hit the Windows Store brings with it the oft-requested feature of a functional snap view to allow for a better work flow. We have a little more on that after the break.

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Microsoft seems to be taking its Skype acquisition and integrating it further into the arsenal of products and services the company offers - namely Messenger (or Windows Live Messenger). An article has been published on the Skype blog detailing what's on the horizon for Messenger users who now have the opportunity to connect to their Microsoft Account within the Skype client.

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Talk.to, the popular cross-platform messenger, is on its way to the Windows Phone Marketplace. According to its download page, the Windows Phone app is "coming soon". Talk.to enables users to send messages using a number of third-party services. Facebook, Google Talk, and more are supported. Should you enjoy using the big screen, native desktop clients for both Windows and Mac are available, as well as use via a web browser.

Talk.to states on the website that it offers free SMS for both sending and receiving. Group messaging and read / delivered notifications are also present. Using Live Tiles, the simplistic typography look and feel, and toast notifications, we're pretty excited to see what the team can do on the Windows Phone platform. More apps is never a bad thing either.

Currently available for both the iPhone and Android smartphones, it'll be great to see such a solution on Windows Phone.

Source: Talk.to; thanks, windowsphoneapps, for the heads up!

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The official MSN Messenger app is Chinese-only

In what is an unusual surprise for users on Windows Phone, Microsoft (MSN China) has released an official standalone MSN Messenger app for Windows Phone.

The app is now available in the Marketplace and it seems to have world-wide availability although you’ll be hard pressed to read it since there is no language-localization to be found.

The app is actually very well done—it’s fast and fluid and behaves like how you would expect. You can set your away messages, chat with others and login from different accounts. And really, that’s the big deal here—as many users do have multiple Messenger aliases which they want to use.

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Microsoft has released some more information detailing the Windows Live services for the next upcoming instalment of the software giant's operating system. As the company continues to move away from the Windows Live and Zune brands, Microsoft Account begins to take over with services such as Messenger and Hotmail being rebranded for easier recognition.

The UI hasn't been the only element of Windows to be redesigned, as one can see in the below table the Windows Live services will all be renamed to match the simplistic new approach Microsoft has undertaken.

Those who have actively used Windows Phone will feel right at home with Mail, Calendar, People, Messaging, Photos / Videos and other new branding that will be present in Windows 8. It's interesting to see just how far the services have come. Skype isn't mentioned, but we're sure we'll see more details as to how VoIP will be further integrated into Windows 8 and Windows Phone. We've also yet to hear more surrounding Microsoft's new music service.

"Windows Live reimagined" (check out the video on the official blog post at MSDN for more information) will see the Microsoft Account act as a key to the storage of personal information and settings. Simply connecting the account to a Windows 8 PC will automatically setup and integrate contacts, email, calendar events, photos, SkyDrive and more. The same experience will be present on the big screen (and tablet) as it is on the smartphone.

The future's bright; the future's the cloud.

Source: Building Windows 8 (MSDN Blog)

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Viber has been busy creating an app for Windows Phone, and we previously looked at an early 2012 release timeframe. Now we're stuck in the middle of early 2012 and it's time for the community to see some light at the end of the tunnel. If you're not familiar with Viber (official website), it's a VoIP service that's used by millions of Android and iPhone owners.

In response to an email inquiry from a Windows Phone enthusiast, Viber had the the following to share:

You will be pleased to know that Viber for WP7 is coming very soon. Please stay tuned within the following week. We will be announcing its publication, system req. and more, at that time.

We'll keep our eyes open and ears tuned for any further details on an imminent release for Viber. It'll be positive to see yet another popular means of communication for Windows Phone.

Via: WMPU; thanks Mark for the tip!

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Being actively social while on-the-go is Microsoft's main aim with Windows Phone, and both Messenger and Facebook Chat provide the means for owners to communicate with contacts via the social network and popular IM service. What's great about these features is that they are integrated into the operating system. Switching between text, Messenger, and Facebook can be achieved in the conversation itself with zero apps.

The only issue with such integration is actually setting it all up - it's not as simple as one would like to believe (there's no click-and-go here). Messenger is automatically connected and ready to fire up once you'd attached your Live ID in the Windows Phone setup walkthrough, but to activate Facebook Chat, you'll be required to login on your Live account and set up Facebook Connect via the web browser, as well as adding your Facebook account to your phone. Simply connecting your Facebook account to your Windows Phone only kick-starts the social integration for the People hub and Me tile. Too much, too fast?

Read on for our full tutorial on Facebook Chat and Messenger for Windows Phone....

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We previously touched on PingMe making a move to Windows Phone, the cross-platform messenger that's already available for iOS, Android and Blackberry is now available on the Marketplace for free. Should the likes of Kik and WhatsApp not fulfil your needs enough, you'll be able to enjoy the following features with PingMe:

  • Cross-platform and will enable communication with iOS, Android, Kindle Fire and Blackberry devices.
  • Record and send voice and video clips.
  • Receive real-time message receipts with typing indicators and sent / delivered / read notifications.
  • Engage in group chat with numerous contacts at any given time (ability to create circles / groups).
  • No registration is required. Your number is your ID.
  • Receive social updates from close friends to stay up-to-date.
  • Locate friends and contacts nearby with geo-location enabled messages.
  • Push notification will keep you alerted when a message is received.
  • Find friends or known acquaintances with the included friend finder functionality.

It's an appealing app with some interesting functionality that will be right up some Windows Phone owners' streets. You can download PingMe from the Marketplace for free.

Thanks to everyone who tipped us!

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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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MobileTechWorld has uncovered a pretty neat feature. We now know we can achieve music and video playback via SkyDrive, but we can also receive files via Messenger in Windows Phone "Mango". Specifically demoed in the above video is the receiving and playing of a music (wma/mp3) and video (wmv/mp4) file.

Unfortunately, as one can see there is no album art displayed and media files saved with this method don't appear in Music and Videos hub, so you'll have to return to the conversation to open up the file once again. This is pretty sweet for deeper integration into IM with users not having to resort to booting up a PC to receive files from a friend (but then again, who doesn't use email these days?)

Source: MobileTechWorld

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IM+ now sports a free version

If you're among the IM+ users who purchased the app back when it was released with a price tag of $9.99, you were kicking yourself at the price drop to $4.99 that came soon after. Now prepare to kick yourself on another part of your body as SHAPE Services has just brought in a free (ad-supported) version of IM+.

The main app, which continues to set new buyers back $4.99, has been given a new title of IM+ Pro with the only noticeable difference between the two versions is being the placement of adverts - functionality appears to be fully implemented in the free offering. To get the free version, grab the link here in the Marketplace.

Source: Windows Phone Metro  Thanks to the many who tipped us on this!

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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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The first of the big announcements for the user end is Mango will be bringing messenger to Windows Phone 7, which will support groups and threaded chat. SMS conversations will also receive this threaded feature as well as the ability to group texts. Allows integrated communication to friends without running applications for specific tasks. Windows Live will see a more prominent presence.

Also on the groups note, Live Tiles for individual contacts will notify the user upon changes with alerts for new emails etc. from that specific contact.

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Today, Microsoft and partner Kik (see website) introduced and showed off Kik Messenger for Windows Phone 7. The app is expected to arrive "in the next few weeks". The IM program has over 3 million users on iPhone and Android, photo sharing and groups.

Here is a quick video tour of the app in action to get an idea of what to expect. Looks good to us.

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