IM

Just in case you felt as though Windows Phone didn't already have enough mobile messenger apps available on the store, Threema is looking to release an official client. According to the website's frequently asked questions (FAQ) section, a Windows Phone app is actively in development, but with no release date published. If you're not familiar with the service, it's a popular end-to-end encrypted messenger available cross-platform.

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The popular Talk.to Messenger app for Windows Phone has been updated with some interesting features and is a great solution if you use Google Talk on the go.

If you're into the app and service to keep in touch with contacts, you'll love some of the new features in this latest release. We're looking at lockscreen support in a freely available solution. Talk.to Messenger can now tap into one of five notification spots on the main locksreen and display a counter. Simple but effective.

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WhatsApp has only just been updated to version 2.9.2 and the team has already released another patch. Looking at version 2.9.3, WhatsApp for Windows Phone has had yet more improvements implemented on top of what was added the other day, which saw the app sport lock screen integration, backup functionality and some UI enhancements. So what's new in this release?

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It has been a long, long time since the Microsoft crowd heard from Fring – a relatively popular VOIP/IM app for iOS, Android and Windows Mobile back in the day. It was back in October of 2012 that we got word they had no plans to support Windows Phone 7 due to the lack of camera access. Since then the access developers have to the camera with Windows Phone 8 has changed dramatically and Fring is coming back!

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The popular mobile communication and social networking app WeChat has been updated to version 4.0. The Windows Phone client has been bumped to include further support for Windows Phone 8, Microsoft's latest mobile platform. Already available for Windows Phone 7.5, WeChat can now be utilised by those running new or legacy hardware.

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We reported on the demise of Microsoft’s long serving Messenger instant chat and video calling service some time back. If you are already an existing user then you’ll have been greeted with pop up notices urging you to update to Skype over the last month or so.

Seems like Microsoft is now putting the word out in full, an official email was sent to users today explaining what you’ll need to do and how long the service will continue to work for.

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15

IM+ Pro released for Windows 8

Shape has released IM+ for Windows 8 to compliment the already available free IM+ app on the platform. The pro version of the popular messaging service sports a number of features that aren't available in the standard free app that's available. In both apps, major IM services are supported, including MeinVZ, Jabber, Fetion, Renren, SINA Weibo, Mamba.Ru, Yandex chat and more.

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44

Skype gets snappy with latest update on Windows 8

It wasn’t that long ago that Skype was updated for Windows 8 and we’re glad to see that they are working hard to bring us all the features we want. Bit by bit. The latest update to hit the Windows Store brings with it the oft-requested feature of a functional snap view to allow for a better work flow. We have a little more on that after the break.

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PingMe, the popular, free messaging service is departing from BlackBerry and Windows Phone. The cross-platform service has had an app available for Windows Phone since March earlier this year. It's unfortunate to see the company halt development for the platform, especially since Microsoft has only just launched Windows Phone 8.

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Lo and behold, WhatsApp for Windows Phone has returned. The popular messenger app vanished from view just over a week ago and has remained "private" since. We got in touch with the WhatsApp team in attempt to withdraw information detailing the reasons why it was hidden from consumers who may be looking to download (or reinstall) the app, but had no luck with replies received from employees.

We later relayed the news that WhatsApp for Windows Phone was possibly removed because of security concerns and vulnerabilities. A German website reported an Android WhatsApp sniffing tool was able to intercept messages sent using the messaging app over a WiFi connection. WhatsApp later denied this as the cause for the app pull and assured Windows Phone Central that this was not a security related incident.

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Many Windows Phone owners noticed this morning they could no longer see WhatsApp, the popular messaging service, in the Marketplace. WhatsApp was bumped to version 2.0 back in May earlier this year and we can't think of a reason why it would vanish from view without prior warning - though we've almost grown used to this occurring with many other apps disappearing.

We've reached out to the WhatsApp team and will update this article accordingly. Of course, in the meantime there are plenty of alternative apps on the Marketplace, Kik being a popular alternative. Should you already have the app installed, fear not as the service works as one would expect. As for those who don't and wish to download it, we'll hopefully have more information for you soon.

Update: The app has not been completely pulled from the Marketplace as the hard link still links to it. Instead, the app has been marked as 'private' probably on error by someone--that mode is for when it is in closed-beta testing. WhatsApp could be re-working the app and may have another version going live soon (this is what happened with the CNN app the other day). We'll keep you posted. In the meantime, you can still see the app from this link though downloading is not allowed due to the 'private' status.

Update 2: WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton responded to the fan site WhatsAppen.com noting that their team hopes to submit a new version to the Marketplace soon. No other details were given but this sounds like an execution error rather than something more deleterious.

We're starting to suspect that WhatsApp will begin charging for the app (it's $0.99 on other platforms) and this is the changeover period. 

Thanks to everyone who tipped us!

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Telefonica introducing a cross-platform mobile messaging service

Tuenti (official website) has announced an upcoming Windows Phone app, as well as a solution for iOS. Currently the service is available for both Android and BlackBerry (as beta - launched today), with the remaining two apps coming in the next few weeks. So what's the deal with Tuenti and should you be interested?

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On June 14th, rumors were circulating that Microsoft was poised to buy Yammer, a social-network and messaging service for enterprise, for at least $1 billion dollars. Speculation cooled down a bit as Microsoft intended to focus on the Surface and Windows Phone 8 announcements but a new week is upon us and so the deal is now official.

Microsoft has now purchased Yammer (www.yammer.com) for a massive $1.2 billion in cash and it will be folded into the Microsoft Office Division, led by division President Kurt DelBene. The team will continue to report to current CEO David Sacks to maintain continuity, at least for the near future.

A statement from Microsoft on the acquisition states

“The acquisition of Yammer underscores our commitment to deliver technology that businesses need and people love. Yammer adds a best-in-class enterprise social networking service to Microsoft’s growing portfolio of complementary cloud services.”

Yammer is only four years old but has nearly 5 million users including employees at 85 percent of the Fortune 500, making it an interesting and strategic purchase. So why the acquisition even though Microsoft has Lync and Sharepoint already? Mary Jo Foley (ZDNet) ruminates that Microsoft "...needed a cooler brand and wanted the cross-platform support" which sounds about right to us.

Here's to hopefully seeing Yammer built into Windows Phone 8.

Full press release after the break...

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We'll be honest here, LINE messenger by a company called Naver is not something we're familiar with but our audience certainly is. Boasting about being in 230 countries, LINE is a VOIP/chat service that is evidently popular in a lot of Asian markets so it's great to see it come to Windows Phone.

Available already on iOS, Android, PC and Mac, LINE is actually a well done app with a snazzy Metro UI and decent enough features to make us take a look at it. Of course none of our friends use it so it's hard for us to take it for a spin on such short notice, but loading up the app was a refreshing change from some other chat programs out there.

The app doesn't have a killer feature per se but it does contain the usual fare: send messages, photos, videos, voice messages, as well as location info. It also has a thing called "stickers" for conveying emotion which we suppose is a bit quaint. Note at least with this release there is no VOIP just chat.

Like all messaging apps, your usage is completely dependent upon your social circle and if they use it. Having said that, LINE is actually quite nice and we're a bit jealous that we don't have an immediate need for it---with Kik, WhatsApp, TalkBox, OctroTalk, GroupMe and IM+ already available, it's tough to find a spot for LINE. But for those that need or use said service, it looks like there's a winner here for you.

Pick up LINE by Naver for Windows Phone here in the Marketplace. Thanks, PsycheBlue, for the tip

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Due to feedback on how users are actually taking advantage of their app, chat app Palringo is retiring support for 3rd party IM services like MSN, AIM, Google Talk and more. The company sent out a notification to users just a little while ago directing them to the website to read the full announcement:

"Further in our move to focus on the features our users love - our community of groups - we have decided to pull support for 3rd party instant messaging services. We've noticed that the vast majority of you no longer use this feature and instead prefer to invite your existing friends to signup to Palringo, which is now easier than ever."

That's obviously bad news for those who used the app only to connect to other networks but it sounds like the Palringo team were spreading themselves thin trying to support everybody. In addition, with competition like IM+ out on the market, it seems like Palringo would rather focus on their own IM service.

For those who haven't tried it, Palringo is currently in open-beta on the Windows Phone Marketplace since February and is now at version 0.7. Palringo has been around for years and has quite the fan base built up, including many from the Windows Mobile heyday. The service is unique in allowing users to create chat rooms and send voice clips

Try out Palringo here in the Marketplace (currently, it still has support for other IM services). For kicks, read our 2009 review for Windows Mobile.

Source: Palringo; Thanks, holysheyat, for the tip

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Viber has been busy creating an app for Windows Phone, and we previously looked at an early 2012 release timeframe. Now we're stuck in the middle of early 2012 and it's time for the community to see some light at the end of the tunnel. If you're not familiar with Viber (official website), it's a VoIP service that's used by millions of Android and iPhone owners.

In response to an email inquiry from a Windows Phone enthusiast, Viber had the the following to share:

You will be pleased to know that Viber for WP7 is coming very soon. Please stay tuned within the following week. We will be announcing its publication, system req. and more, at that time.

We'll keep our eyes open and ears tuned for any further details on an imminent release for Viber. It'll be positive to see yet another popular means of communication for Windows Phone.

Via: WMPU; thanks Mark for the tip!

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24

WhatsApp for Windows Phone updated to version 1.9

It has been little over a month since WhatsApp for Windows Phone received an update with 1.8 rolling out, but the popular IM app has been bumped to 1.9 as of today. As well as sporting video recording and sharing, WhatsApp now allows users to share contacts and browse downloaded media in a conversation.

As well as bug fixes and performance improvements, German and Russion localisations are included with improved support for Emoji. A quick run through of what's new in this update:

  • Improved support for Emoji
  • Group mute features
  • Share contacts
  • Browse downloaded media in a conversation
  • German and Russian localizations
  • The usual bug fixes and performance improvements 

It's great to see continued development from the team for the platform, which puts it up there with iOS, Android and Blackberry. You can download WhatsApp from the Marketplace for free.

Thanks everyone who tipped us on this!

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Being actively social while on-the-go is Microsoft's main aim with Windows Phone, and both Messenger and Facebook Chat provide the means for owners to communicate with contacts via the social network and popular IM service. What's great about these features is that they are integrated into the operating system. Switching between text, Messenger, and Facebook can be achieved in the conversation itself with zero apps.

The only issue with such integration is actually setting it all up - it's not as simple as one would like to believe (there's no click-and-go here). Messenger is automatically connected and ready to fire up once you'd attached your Live ID in the Windows Phone setup walkthrough, but to activate Facebook Chat, you'll be required to login on your Live account and set up Facebook Connect via the web browser, as well as adding your Facebook account to your phone. Simply connecting your Facebook account to your Windows Phone only kick-starts the social integration for the People hub and Me tile. Too much, too fast?

Read on for our full tutorial on Facebook Chat and Messenger for Windows Phone....

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