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January 10, 2012

AppTr@p:Kik Messenger Review



First up in my collection of reviews for the big messaging apps out there is Kik. I started using Kik several months ago as my first text replacement app. Quick messages sent instantly with no text messaging fees, what more could I ask for?
A week after I started using Kik the app was pulled from RIM’s App World due to a lawsuit from RIM so that ruled out messaging all my friends with Blackberries. This was a big detriment to the app because it was originally billed itself as fully cross platform and now I was restricted to iPhone and Android phones only.
I stopped using Kik after a while to try out other messaging apps. After I decided to do this app round up I knew Kik was one of the top apps to test out. This recently an update for Kik added group messaging and pictures to the fray.
Picture messaging is a great addition to the app, however you cannot select previously taken photos from your gallery, you have to take a photo at the time of the message to send it with the app. It would be better if any pictures can be chosen.
Group messaging is great, I love the ease of organization that group messaging adds to any event, it is why I started using Beluga. It has started to be an integral part of any messaging app that hopes to be a contender in the growing number of messaging apps out there.  Kik pulls it off simply and cleanly, topping off number of people at ten to keep the conversation from getting too complicated.
Kik does exactly what it says it does. It is quick, reliable and simple. The lack of support for Blackberry makes it less desirable than some other apps for your one stop communication app but with RIM’s legal actions there is not much that could be expected from Kik in this situation. Overall Kik is a good option if your friends only use iOS or Android smartphones.
Note: The pictures in this review were taken from the Kik page on the Android Market as I was having trouble getting screenshots on my phone.
Words from the Kik team
I have sent out emails to each of the developers of the messaging apps I am reviewing  asking four questions: Tera from Kik fired me an email response quickly with the following answers:
1. Why did you choose to develop a messaging app?
The messaging app was developed originally as way to share music. As time went on the value of an insanely fast, reliable messenger became very apparent and we began to focus on the 1-to-1 aspect of messaging. It’s clear that there are many messaging apps out there – but our goal has always been to make the fastest real-time mobile messenger. SMS is outdated and more like talking to a brick wall – the message receipts in Kik really change a static message delivery service into a dynamic conversation. In my opinion, when I get an email from someone thanking us for making such an amazing app that enables them to have instant communication with their long-distance loved one – the reason why we do this becomes very clear.
2. What sets your app apart from your competitors?
For us the main importance of a mobile messaging app is speed and reliability. The app is very easy to register for and use, it’s completely free and it’s always on. You get instantaneous push notifications and the ability to share what you’re seeing in real-time. Even our groups are a bit different – less of a broadcast system and more of a dynamic, flexible group conversation. Kik Messenger is the next best thing to a real conversation on your mobile phone.
3. What features to do you have planned for the future of your app?
Our future is very bright! We are crafting up some innovative things – but you can definitely expect to see a Windows Phone 7 version in the near future. We announced that on our blog here: http://www.kik.com/blog/2011/01/new-announcements/
4. Is there anything else you think people should know about your app?
The people who use our app are the most important thing to us. If they ask a question, have an issue or just need someone to talk to – we are there for them. We appreciate that out of the plethora of apps they can use – they choose Kik so we will do whatever it takes to make them feel appreciated and like a part of the Kik family.

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