Launched on 2 Dec 2010, Viber is a free Instant Messaging (IM) service for use on smartphones. Users are able to texts, photos, and videos with other Viber uses for free. Free voice calling is also available on several platforms (Viber with HD voice was released onto Windows Phone 8 on the 2nd April 2013) and is likely to be rolled out onto several more. Viber is consistently updating and improving, and plans to launch an app for the BlackBerry 10 OS soon, and already is popular among BlackBerry OS 5 and 7 users.
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Despite being a small-sized company compared to other software giants, Viber is proving to be popular internationally, boasting 200 million users at the start of May 2013. As a comparison, instant messaging giant Skype has around 280 million users at the last count.
There are a couple of reasons for Viber’s success:
Connections Across Mobile Platforms
Some of the most popular IM programs such as BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) or iMessage allow free communication between mobile users with the same type of smartphone (although BlackBerry has recently announced that versions of BBM for Android and iPhone are going to be released soon). Viber is available to download onto most of the major smartphone and PC systems: BlackBerry, Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Nokia, Mac, Windows, and Bada. Once downloaded, users are able to communicate for free with anyone provided that they also have downloaded the program.
Communication can also take place between different countries – at present Viber supports 20 different languages (including Arabic, Farsi, Traditional and simplified Chinese) and has users in 193 countries.
Simple To Operate
The consensus amongst its users is that Viber’s interface and program is easy to navigate. The layout is simple and attractive.
While WhatsApp charges a download or subscription fee (depending on the type of mobile device), Viber is free to download, free to run and does not have a “freemium” option. As with other IM programs, if you wish to contact a non-user using the program then you will be charged.
Good Interegration with Smartphone
An advantage of Viber is that it automatically syncs with your contacts that have downloaded the application. Unlike Skype where you have to manually ‘Add Contacts’ to your directory, there is no danger of missing out the contact details of any friends or family!
As a mobile app, Viber is designed to run automatically and quietly in the background of the device. It does not need to be launched when you switch on your smartphone (unlike Skype).
Despite its relative youth, Viber is proving to be a popular addition to the IM market with plenty of strengths going for it.