Viber expands OTT messaging platform to the desktop, tops 200M users

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Viber Media is extending its over-the-top messaging and voice application from mobile devices to the desktop in conjunction with the launch of its revamped Viber 3.0 platform.

The Viber app lets users send free text messages, photos and location updates and make free, HD-quality calls over 3G/4G or Wi-Fi connections across mobile operating systems including Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS, Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android, BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) and Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone. With the release of the new Viber Desktop, optimized for both PC and Mac, consumers may now access the same core services from their home or office: Cross-platform features include one-click call transfers between Viber Desktop and the mobile app, continuous message syncing and automatic contact syncing. Viber Desktop also supports video calling, including desktop-to-desktop communications.

In addition to Viber desktop, the Viber 3.0 platform rollout includes major updates for the Android and iOS apps, including video messages, enhanced photo experiences, new stickers and performance improvements. Viber for Android also boasts a redesigned user interface in line with Google's Holo visual theme as well as security upgrades.

Viber now touts 200 million users across 193 countries, up from 175 million earlier this year. The app supports 27 languages, including eight new additions: Dutch, Indonesian, Korean, Malay, Swedish, Thai, Turkish and Vietnamese. Viber Media CEO Talmon Marco recently said the company plans to introduce value-added services designed to monetize its platform, but he promised the app's core calling and messaging services will remain free.

Consumers across the globe will send 41 billion over-the-top mobile messages per day by the end of 2013, compared to an average of 19.5 billion peer-to-peer SMS, according to a forecast issued late last month by research firm Informa. OTT traffic has already eclipsed SMS in terms of daily messaging volume: Consumers sent an average of 19.1 billion OTT messages per day in 2012, compared to 17.6 billion messages via SMS. OTT messaging app users send an average of 32.6 OTT messages each day, compared to just 5 SMS daily, Informa adds.

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