Thursday, December 6, 2012

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) releases Android messenger app for emerging markets

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s new messaging service for Android devices, intended to supplant traditional text messaging, is not likely to do that analysts said.

The new messenger service can be used by both members and non-members of Facebook, which has positioned at as a service that can replace short messaging service that phone owners use.

The messenger app is being primarily targeted at emerging economies and will be released in countries such as India, Indonesia, Australia, South Africa and Venezuela.

Analysts however said that the countries where the app would be available were those where data network availability was patchy and traditional messaging services would still remain popular.

The Messenger app is meant to challenge existing carrier-based messaging protocols, which get in the way of true communication, Peter Deng, Facebook's product manager for Messenger, said at the Le Web conference in Paris.

"We have to give people more than the types of messaging they have on their phones. With the SMS protocol, it's been around for about 20 years. It's designed for these old phones that we used to have," Deng said. "They don't take advantage of all of the location features, the touchscreen, the rich kind of communication, the picture-taking." 

While carrier-based text messaging has grown - there has been a 14 percent rise in SMS messages in 2011 from 2010, according to Forrester - some small inroads have been made by other messaging services such as that provided by social media networks.

Telecom operators lost US$8.7 billion in 2010 and $13.9 billion in 2011 due to IP-based social messaging, U.K. market research firm Ovum said.

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