As discussed in our latest report, “13 Mobile Trends for 2013 and Beyond,” people are using mobile devices to communicate in multiple new ways that are more visual, richer, faster, easier, more automated or simply more fun. One way they’re doing so: with messaging apps like Line, Viber and KakaoTalk, which have become “an indispensable form of communication for hundreds of millions of people worldwide,” as The Wall Street Journal notes. Depending on the service, users can embed content like songs, video, images and doodles; communicate via emoticons and virtual stickers; share location; and play games while chatting. Stickers (some free, some premium) are a world in themselves, from dancing pizza slices to proprietary characters. The app Rednote lets users add music to texts, choosing songs based on the mood they want to convey.
The numbers are impressive: MessageMe garnered more than a million users within a week of its launch last month. Line claims 120 million downloads. To compete with these over-the-top apps, mobile operators are launching their own services, like Libon from Orange and Bobsled from T-Mobile USA. —Marian Berelowitz
Image credit: Rednote