Viber, Nimbuzz expand OTT messaging apps to Windows Phone 8

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Over-the-top messaging services Viber and Nimbuzz are extending their respective cross-platform applications to smartphones running Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone 8.

The free Viber for Windows Phone 8 supports text and photo messaging as well as HD-quality voice calling. Users can also launch group conversations with up to 40 participants and share their location in messages. The app additionally features a native interface designed to leverage Windows Phone 8 features like resizable Live Tiles, which enable consumers to view messages and other information directly from the homescreen.

Viber now counts more than 175 million users worldwide. In addition to Windows Phone 8, the app is available across operating systems including Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS, Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android and BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY). Speaking earlier this week to Mobile World Live, Viber CEO Talmon Marco said the firm will soon roll out value-added services designed to monetize its platform, but he promised its core calling and messaging services will remain free.

The rival Nimbuzz app also offers free messaging, group chats and voice calls across platforms like iOS, Android and BlackBerry. Nimbuzz for Windows Phone 8, developed in partnership with device manufacturer Nokia (NYSE:NOK), supports Live Tiles alerting users to unread messages; in addition, the tile will periodically flip over, showing a portion of the content to help the user decide whether to immediately respond, join a chat group or save the message for later.

Nimbuzz now serves more than 150 million users in 200 countries. More than 210,000 new users register for Nimbuzz each day.

Vendors shipped 17.9 million Windows Phone devices in 2012, roughly doubling from 9 million a year earlier, according to a recent IDC report. The Microsoft platform now accounts for 2.5 percent of the global smartphone market, up from 1.8 percent in 2011, but still far behind Android and iOS.

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