March 3, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka
The “BBM for Android” market is a crowded space. PingChat was among the first to replicate RIM’s popular app, Kik rose and fell in a tech blink, and Beluga achieved massive support for its pod-based group sharing and chat platform before Facebook gobbled it up. Is there room for one more contestant?
Phil Karl seems to think so. He’s the man behind LiveProfile, an Android and iPhone app that enables real-time messaging across platforms. LiveProfile keeps friends in-touch without having to pay SMS rates or wait on the time it takes for messages to be delivered. That, along with the ability to post updates and share files, has helped the service attract roughly 25,000 users to join each day.
Androinica.com had a chance to speak with Karl about LiveProfile. He revealed that the impending launch on BlackBerry, and an ambitious roadmap set to deliver plenty of new features, could make LiveProfile a more popular option for people seeking real-time messaging between Android, BlackBerry, and iOS.
Androinica.com: Why should someone use LiveProfile rather than just send a text message?
Phil Karl: We like to think of ourselves as more than just a messaging app; [we're a] service for people to share photos, videos, updates, comprehensive profiles, and a feature-packed messenger with a lot of social components. Using LiveProfile is a lot faster than sending a text message. SMS can take 1 to 2 minutes and you don’t even know when the message is received. LiveProfile offers a real-time experience to see when the other person receives the message and is responding within milliseconds. It’s much more of a live experience.
Right now it’s only available on Android and iOS. When will Android users be able to speak with their friends with BlackBerry devices?
That’s something that we plan on releasing this week. We’re actually privately testing that now and want to make sure there aren’t any bugs before we release it. Supporting BlackBerry is a major stepping stone for us. That’s one of the primary reasons people have been wanting to use our service and will roll-over to use our service primarily [to communicate with non-BlackBerry owners]. BlackBerry still has a very large market share and a lot of people love it.
So what made you decide to support Android first?
Me and my co-founder both have Android phones and believe that Android is the future. We definitely think that open is going to win in the end. We have HTC EVO’s and had 4G service in New York and got to really see the kind of speeds you’re able to get on a mobile phone we were previously developing the BlackBerry app a few months prior, but given the advance in technology and Android exploding, to take advantage of these powerful smartphones made for a nice experience.
LiveProfile has been described as BBM for Android, just like Beluga, Pingchat, and Kik. What sets LiveProfile apart from any other messaging app?
We’re a pretty feature-packed messenger and have a beautiful UI. How we differ from competitors is that the service is very reliable. At the core, we believe that speed and reliability is really going to drive our growth. I don’t want to speculate too much about our future plans but we will be enabling group messaging and a have few more tricks up our sleeve to help LiveProfiles be more than just a messenger and more of a social experience.
Any chance we’ll see something like push-to-talk or audio messages?
Right now there’s no audio messages. We’re going to take advantage of these newer phones that have more capabilities, so you can expect things like push-to-talk or video chat, but right now we’re focused on the social component.
LiveProfile is available for free in the Android Market. An Android 1.6 or higher device is required to use it. Find out more information at LiveProfile.com.