by Anam Alpenia
Whatsapp hits 700 million users
Mobile cross-platform messaging service Whatsapp boasted 600 million users in August. A mere four months later, it has hit the 700 million user mark.
Acquired by Facebook for $22 billion in October 2014, Whatsapp now has the highest usership of any app in its messaging category, including Facebook’s Messenger.
Whatsapp CEO Jan Koum addressed Whatsapp users in a Facebook post on January 6: “Today, we’re thrilled to share that WhatsApp has more than 700 million monthly active users. Additionally, every day our users now send over 30 billion messages.”
Currently, the app offers users a free year before implementing an annual $0.99 charge. Since its acquisition, Whatsapp has scaled back efforts to make money; according to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, this could change once the application hits 1 billion users, a feat that appears to be fast approaching.
Due to unlimited SMS plans in the U.S., messaging applications haven’t seen the same success in the region as internationally. While Whatsapp is the leading global messenger app, it still has regional competition in the form of widespread apps like WeChat in China, KakaoTalk in South Korea, and Line in Japan.
All signs point to forward growth for the Mountain View-based company, with voice calls slated to be the app’s next big upgrade, pitting it against incumbents like Skype and Viber. With the arrival of 2015, users won’t need to wait long to see what Whatsapp has in store.
“As humbled and excited as we are by these numbers and our continued growth, we’re even more excited to keep building a great product in 2015,” Koum said.
Mobile giant Samsung has predicted a 37.4% fall in quarterly operating profit compared against numbers a year earlier.
Xiaomi, the third largest smartphone maker in the world, has been eating into Samsung’s market share in China, the world’s largest smartphone market. Should forecasts be true, the fall in profit would mark Samsung’s first annual profit decline since 2011, according to Reuters.
However, the South Korean tech giant has been slated to make a quick turnaround. With new products like the Galaxy Note 4, advancements to current television and phone models, and a recent proclamation at CES 2015 that it will capitalize on the smart home and the Internet of Things, Samsung should and likely will remain a leading player in the smartphone and electronics sector.
CES draws to a close
The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas ended on Friday, after a week of displaying some of tech’s hottest gadgets. The Internet of Things dominated the early headlines, as the likes of Samsung committed to a more connected approach to making products. Home automation company Nest also announced new products. Intel announced a new wearable chip, and there were plenty of new offerings in that area too.
Meanwhile, car makers were out in force to announce new connected cars, packed full of apps and tech designed to improve the driving experience. Plenty of drones were reviewed, although many still struggle with battery life issues.
If CES is any indication of the year ahead, expect homes, cars and people to become more connected to technology – just mind your head for falling drones.
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