We know Kik is popular, and there are definitely some users of ChatON, Hookt, LiveProfile, ICQ and others. But the king of the instant messaging game is still WhatsApp.
The company, which charges 99c for its iPhone app and provides its Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry users one free year before asking for the same, announced on its Twitter account that December 31st was its busiest day yet.
On Dec 31st we had a new record day: 7B msgs inbound, 11B msgs outbound = 18 billion total messages processed in one day! Happy 2013!!!
— WhatsApp Inc. (@WhatsApp) January 2, 2013
WhatsApp processed 18 billion messages on the last day of 2012 — seven billion inbound and 11 billion outbound — which is a scorching number considering Apple’s iMessage is thought to deliver around a billion per day. WhatsApp’s previous record, back in August, was 12 billion, so the holiday jump definitely sees the IM platform moving in a positive direction.
The company is also very reticent to discuss user numbers. It’s thought to have over 200 million users, and is a top paid download on iOS in many countries, including Canada and the United States. It is growing fastest in emerging markets, areas in which RIM’s BBM still has a foothold, but its cross-platform promise is more enticing to many users.
It’s also important to realize that most users don’t use WhatsApp exclusively. Most of my smartphone-sporting friends and family combine it with SMS (less now than ever), iMessage (where applicable), Facebook Messenger (the big disruptor) and, to a lesser extent, Kik and its ilk.
Earlier this year WhatsApp was rumoured to be in acquisition talks with Facebook, but those speculations were quickly debunked.