“Kik’ing” the Competition and Bridging the Gap

Kik Messenger (AKA KM, I’ve decided to name it KM because sooner or later someone was going to do it).  What in the world? When I see the word “Kik” I think of “Kix” cereal and my mouth immediately starts watering as I think back on my childhood days: simpler times, when a bowl of Kix was all I needed to be happy.  Unfortunately, KM has nothing to do with cereal; perhaps a future article could be about advancements in cereal technology. Back to the point.

Today, the gap between iPhone, Blackberry and Android seems pretty expansive. All of these phones have their own distinct features which make their loyal users rave.  Thanks to KM that expanse just became a whole heck of a lot smaller.  I recently switched to the iPhone from a Blackberry.  The decision would have been a no-brainer but for the fact that Blackberry has perfected the art of text message communication in a beautiful way with Blackberry Messenger (BBM). BBM is a smooth and intuitive form of communication that lets the users add each other and communicate seamlessly.  However, with KM these messaging capabilities are now available for the three previously mentioned phones giving users of these three devices the ability to communicate with one another with the functionality of BBM and possibly beyond (more on that later).

Not familiar with how cool BBM-like capabilities are? Let’s say you just met a cute girl or guy. As is so often done in this day and age, you lay the foundation of your relationship through some casual texting.  BBM’ing and now KM’ing allows you to see if that other person has received the text message, whether they’ve read it and if they are typing a response.  You can wait by your phone in anticipation and determine if the other person is actually uninterested in the conversation and only reads your texts every few minutes, or if they are engaged, reading and responding immediately.

With 150,000 downloads the first day it was released to the public, the mobile application world has been forced to take KM seriously. Let’s break down some of the pros and cons of KM:

Pros:

  • Free to download
  • Does not cost a text message (everything is run through KM servers)
  • Functions as a chat application that allows users to view if message has been sent, read and if the person on the other end is typing
  • Can be used by iPhone, Android and Blackberry users
  • Extremely fast, messages show up instantly

Cons:

  • All your friends might not be on it yet
  • Users cannot share pictures
  • Can be a little glitch-y (sometimes a message won’t show up for a while)
  • Can be a little tricky to add contacts

The Future Looks Bright and Surprises May Be In Store

At the end of the day, you literally have nothing to lose by downloading this.  Also, as is the case with most new applications, Kik Messenger will only continue to improve.  According to Matt Marshall’s article posted on Mobile Beat, the developers of KM may eventually give it image, video and even music sharing capabilities. Even cooler than that? You may one day be able to use KM to stream media onto any device running software.  Let’s say you have an HD video on your phone of your baby’s first word.  You could theoretically stream that video onto your parent’s computer back home in Kalamazoo. Before you know it all of your family and friend’s are watching Sally say “Dada!”

KM (maybe the nickname will catch on?) has nothing but upsides. I am very excited to see how KM continues to develop and possibly become the future of mobile messaging.  According to KM’s website, the service boasts that its messaging is so effective, it’s almost as good as face-to-face interaction.  This could lead some people to save a lot of money on traveling back home. “Sorry mom, it’s just easier to text you now”.

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