To coincide with my wedding anniversary (kind of them) Nimbuzz launched in the UK. According to their Chief Marketing Officer Tariq Dag Steinberg Khan, Nimbuzz goes beyond Skype and offers “free calls, chat and more.” On the face of it this is true. In addition to mobile VOIP calling it also offers conference calling, instant messaging, chat, photo and file sending across multiple IM communities including Skype, MSN, Google Talk, Yahoo! and Social networking sites likes Facebook and Myspace.
The application is free to download and once the user has registered the contacts from their selected IM communities are aggregated in to a single contacts list with icons that show real time status – online or offline. Apparently Nimbus already works with more than 500 handsets and VOIP works in 90 handsets worldwide. If they can integrate geo-location somehow that would be even more interesting.
Although the calls are free the costs of data are still charged for by the carriers and so the recent announcement by Vodafone in the UK of the first all-you-can-eat data package is even more significant. A year ago flat rate data plans didn’t exist in Europe and the launch of this type of technology would not have generated the excitement it no doubt will.
Nimbuzz claim to have subscribers numbering 500,000 from 176 countries and that their launch is driving data take up on mobile devices. I mentioned Trutap in a recent blog and like it, Nimbuzz is another example of technology the uses the specific attributes of mobile devices. It is still the carriers with their control of data rates that will control the effectiveness and adoption of these new technologies.