Kik Messenger, the iPhone app that could quickly replace text messages, has registered more than 1 million users, and for good reason. If you're not usually a follower or a wagon-jumper, this is the time to become one, because Kik offers real-time communication, free, over a number of different platforms.In just over two weeks,
Not only is this app massively popular for a reason, but that same reason may be why you won't see it in the app store soon and time might be running out to grab a copy.
According to the company's blog post announcing its millionth user in just 15 days, more than 25,000 people are joining the service every hour. "Viral" might be an understatement for this sort of growth.
Kik is simply a real-time messaging service that allows users of iPhone, Android and Blackberry smartphones to communicate with each other. Kik can act as an SMS replacement, with the user on the other end getting a Push notification when you message them, or as a real-time chat. When chatting with someone, Kik shows a message saying when they're typing and a little icon next to each of your messages shows when it has been read. Inviting your friends is as easy as tweeting a link on Twitter, sending them an SMS invite or shooting them a quick email. It's part of this fast friend-finding, however, that might get Kik into a little bit of hot water with Apple.
According to an article by Alexia Tsotsis on TechCrunch, the app may be in direct violation of Apple's TOS by automatically importing your contacts without asking permission. Tsotsis writes that Kik founder Ted Livingston "was baffled as to why the app had been accepted into the App Store four times without contest if it in fact was in violation of Apple's TOS".
Kik May Become the Ultimate Sling Box
Kik also mentioned it would soon be adding three new features to the app - the ability to block contacts, picture messaging and a third feature they call "Sneaky Rhino". According to the blog post, this feature "will take Kik, and using an incredibly powerful technology we have developed over the last 16 months, wirelessly connect your smartphone to any PC or TV". In an interview with Venture Beat's Matt Marshall last week, Livingston showed off a bit of this upcoming functionality.
[Livingston] was able to remotely take over the Chrome browser (with my permission, of course) on my MacBook. He then played music over it -- all while remotely operating this from his phone. All I did was enter a code that he gave me so that my browser knew to pair with the phone and allow the stream. (A QR code can be used, too.) [...] It's pretty cool. Basically, Kik's technology lets you wirelessly "sling" any content on your phone to any device running on any software. This hasn't been done before, as far as I know. Sure, AppleTV lets you stream iTunes content to the TV, but it's a closed garden. You can't run Apple content on other devices. Kik's technology allows you to stream pretty much any content on any device with a browser, whether it's a basic PC, or even a PS3, Wii or a Windows Media Center device.
For the time being, it looks like the app is still available and we say jump on that bandwagon before it leaves town...and cancel that expensive $15 a month SMS plan because you soon won't need it. Sure, Kik isn't alone in the SMS-replacement market, with apps like GroupMe, TextPlus or PingChat, but it is alone in being completely free, fast, multi-platform and growing in popularity by leaps and bounds.