KakaoTalk to Release PC Application in May, Launch Indonesian TV Ad Tomorrow Starring Big Bang and Sherina Munaf
KakaoTalk opened a trial access for the PC app of its messaging service earlier this week, reports Chosun Ilbo. The most popular messaging service in South Korea is ending the mobile exclusive status of its service. By allowing PC access to the service, KakaoTalk users won’t need to reach for their mobile devices when they’re working on their computers, something that its Japanese competitor, Line, has already offered since March last year.
Given the nature of communication, the ability to take conversations across devices is important as people easily switch between mobile phones, tablets, and PCs for different purposes, which is why email is still the most flexible and the most accessible method of text communication. Email’s nature however does not endear itself to the younger generation or indeed to those seeking the experience of instant messaging, which is highly informal and unstructured, with little etiquette to consider.
According to Chosun Ilbo, the beta version is focused only on text messaging, leaving out shopping and content sharing, and there’s no word whether those features will make it to the release version. Ten thousand people will be given early access to the PC app before the official release in May.
BeSuccess has a screenshot and a description of the PC app. It says that the app will be using your Kakao ID instead of your phone number to log in but the service will send a verification code to your phone.
Being able to carry conversations without relying on a single device would be the ultimate convenience. Facebook Messenger already offers this thanks to Mark Zuckerberg’s idea of using it to supplant email as the preferred communication method, but it’s not among the top messaging platforms being used in Asia and people don’t generally consider Facebook as a messaging service. Not yet anyway.
Kakao’s absolute dominance in South Korea, (the company claims 97% of the market) has yet to translate internationally but this latest development should provide a boost in the adoption of the service, or at least a strong consideration to put it ahead of some of the other competing services. Currently KakaoTalk is used by over 80 million people globally and already available on iOS, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, and Bada platforms, although full feature access are only on iOS and Android for the time being.
In Indonesia, Kakao will boost its promotional campaign following its Indonesian launch earlier this month, by releasing a TV advertisement and five behind the scene videos starring Korean hip hop act Big Bang and Indonesian singer/actress Sherina Munaf, starting 29 March. Munaf recently visited South Korea and met with Kakao’s co-CEO Brian Kim at the company’s headquarters in Seoul.
Kakao’s vice president of global product development Kate Sohn said in a statement, “Sherina and Big Bang both are renowned for their creativity, charisma, and artistic qualities. Sherina’s energy will add a local flavor to the effort in introducing one of Korea’s most favorite technology brand. Combined, they are the best choice to represent the freedom and enjoyable experience with KakaoTalk.
Kakao’s promotional drive comes on the heels of Line’s and WeChat’s TV campaigns which began earlier this year. Between January and February of this year, KakaoTalk has had nearly 300 percent increase in signup and usage. The service’s highlight, aside from the free text messaging and the popular games, is the free group voice messaging with high definition audio which allows up to five simultaneous participants in a single call. KakaoTalk’s voice calls can take advantage of the voice filters, provided by the familiar characters Talking Tom and Talking Ben.
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