WhatsApp introduces voice messaging, surpasses 300M active users

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WhatsApp is rolling out push-to-talk messaging services, enabling users to share voice memos across multiple mobile platforms.

WhatsApp Messenger--available for Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS, Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android, Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone and BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY)--enables users to share text messages and photos with contacts across the globe, with no international messaging fees. The new PTT option lets consumers push one button to record a voice message of any length they wish; releasing the button automatically sends the message, or users may swipe to the left to delete it.

"The number of taps matters," WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum told AllThingsD. "People want to send a message and be on their way." A blue microphone icon confirms that the recipient has listened to the memo: "It's very reassuring to know that someone else has heard your message," Koum explained.

WhatsApp bills users $0.99 per year after a one-year free trial period, eschewing advertising support. The app now boasts 300 million monthly active users, up from 250 million in June 2013; users send 11 billion messages and receive 20 billion per day (totals determined separately because some messages are sent to multiple recipients), increasing from a combined 27 billion two months ago.

WhatsApp users also share 325 million photos daily. Koum said the startup will next focus on more "media-focused" products building on image sharing activities.

WhatsApp's consumer growth poses major challenges for conventional carrier messaging services. 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 recent forecast issued 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.

For more:
- read this AllThingsD article

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