What is interesting is that the mobile social network seems to be doing as much as possible to dismiss any notions that it might have forgotten the feature phone customers who make up the core of its user base.
The decision to release Mxit 7 for feature phones today, for instance, can’t be accidental. Especially given that it will be followed later in the week by versions for iPhone and iPad. The launch apparently forms part of a phased roll out which will see Mxit 7 available on Android and BlackBerry devices in the coming weeks, and Windows Phone early next year.
Add in the fact that feature phone users on Nokia Asha devices will now get messages even when they are offline, so that everyone can “enjoy a more engaging chat experience” and you can see that Mxit isn’t about to abandon its core for the sexy, if somewhat smaller, smartphone market.
That’s not to say it hasn’t upped its efforts on the smartphone front. The mobile social network says that Mxit 7 for iOS has been rebuilt from the ground up for iOS 7. Features such as Doodlechat and Backdrop meanwhile are meant make for a fun and immersive chat experience. Mxit 7 for iPhone and iPad will be available in the App Store on 15 November.
“Our users love to chat, so we improved the chat experience across all versions of Mxit. We’re also building on the things that made Mxit great in the first place — the fact that we can reliably deliver half a billion messages every day — and extending that with new features like group chat,” says Vincent Maher, Chief Product Officer of Mxit.
Speaking to Memeburn, Maher added that while all versions of the service will go under the Mxit 7 name, the smartphone and feature phone experiences will be pretty different.
“Before we were trying to create a consistent experience for our users by porting the features from our feature phone app to smartphone. Now with Mxit 7, the smartphone version is not limited to the feature phone experience,” he said.
All versions of Mxit focus on chat and have been designed to maximise the capabilities of the platform they run on. Mxit is now concentrating on differentiation rather than consistency across these various operating systems, to provide a richer chat and social experience for both feature and smartphone users.
“The world of apps will always be relevant to the feature phone app, however for smart devices we are trying to give brands a better way to engage with their users,” said Maher. He believes however, that the feature phone version of the app will continue to evolve: “Obviously the features on the smartphone app will slowly find its way to the feature phone app as well.”
According to Mxit, the new version of the service will reportedly run on more than 8 000 devices, including tablets and embraces the capabilities of each platform to offer an immersive chat experience that feels native to each one.
“Mxit 7 is the result of our renewed focus on offering an affordable and rich chat experience that bridges the gap between feature and smartphone users. This is a significant roll out for us, but it is only the beginning – there is plenty of innovation to come,” says Mxit CEO, Francois Swart.
Author | Stuart Thomas: Senior Reporter
Stuart Thomas joined the Burn Media team in 2011 while finishing off an MA in South African Literature. Eager to prove his geek credentials, he allowed himself to be thrown in the deep and did his best stay afloat. When not fused with his keyboard, you can find him... More