There are already so many Instant messaging platforms but there is about to be another player. Jongla, an instant messaging service that enable its users to send and receive messages using low-speed Internet (think Facebook Lite) has announced its entry onto the African market at the currently ongoing Mobile West Africa tech conference.
I can see the idea with Jongla, Internet in Africa is usually unreliable and expensive so it makes sense to have an instant messaging service that you need super-fast internet to use.
The Jongla people say the app was specifically designed with emerging markets in mind (it's only about 2.5MB large) but you have to wonder how this app is going to compete.
There are already other proven and established instant messaging apps like Viber, WhatsApp, BBM, Line, WeChat, and even Telegram, which is gradually getting more and more popular in Africa.
These apps already have a sizeable market share cut up between themselves, and that is without even considering many of the homegrown players. That is not to say Jongla cannot flourish, but it is a very tall mountain to climb.
Jongla says it already offers the following features, per a press release:
● JONGLA OUT: free chat with any of your contacts -Jongla allows users to chat seamlessly with all their phone book contacts. Users are not restricted to chatting only with other Jongla users. If the recipient does not have the app installed, they can chat via Jongla web app without needing to download or register.
● VOICE MESSAGING: Apply fun filters to voice messages and share with friends - Jongla includes a unique embedded voice effects studio. Users can record up to one minute long push-to-talk voice messages and add sound effects to make them sound like a different person, animal or funny thing.
● RELIABLE AND SECURE: Jongla is a super fast and reliable multi-platform messenger that delivers messages safely Jongla is using full TLS encryption to keep chats safe and protects privacy by allowing users to set a personal passcode lock.
● EASY SHARING: text messages, voice messages, photos, videos and interactive stickers
● GROUP CHAT: Jongla users can enjoy group chats with up to 100 friends
Riku Salminen, CEO of Jongla, said, “We have made instant messaging possible for people who don’t have high-end smartphones and live and work in areas where there is often limited access to mobile broadband. We chose Nigeria to launch Jongla in Africa because we know that many people here are frustrated with the current user experience that most of the IM apps offer. We have been able to solve various technical challenges without needing to compromise on functionality. Users want something more fun and personal than just basic messaging to connect with friends and family. We believe in a world where everyone can communicate instantly, freely and securely from anywhere and with anyone regardless of where they live, which phone they have and which network they can access.”
Nigeria will be the first African country to get Jongla, and the company says it is already working on a host of new, innovative features that go beyond just traditional messaging.
The platform already localised to 20 languages, is promising an update by mid-2016 (already?), and is available on the App Store, Google Play, Windows Phone Store, and the Firefox Marketplace. Stay tuned!