Instant messaging on mobile is a heavily contested arena, with players such as WhatsApp, Viber, Kik and others competing each other for valuable market share. BlackBerry recently threw its hat in the ring as well with the launch of BBM for Android and iPhone. Facebook too offers a standalone Messenger app, the aim of which is to make it easier for users to chat with their Facebook friends through their mobile device. The company detailed a new Messenger experience for Android today that its currently testing with a limited number of people using the app.
As previously mentioned, the aim of this app is to make it easier to connect to Facebook friends. The new experience adds a Messenger icon next to people’s names, so users can instantly view in the standalone app itself how many of their contacts are also using Messenger. The icon will let users know who is using the app, which means that they’ll instantly be notified if they’re messaged through Messenger. The new experience also brings the ability to message people who’re not on Facebook or are not in a user’s connections. The new Messenger app on Android can be used for texts, all that’s needed is the contact’s phone number. Apart from these features, a number of changes have been made to the user interface as well. Facebook hasn’t said when the new Messenger experience on Android will be rolled out for everyone.