Now this is something we had been waiting for, to be honest. Facebook had announced that the phone number integration with the Messenger app was in limited beta testing on iOS till now. But, as of this morning, you can download the updated Facebook Messenger app on your iPhone or Android smartphone. This option now gives the app the added flexibility of allowing you to message your friends who are in your phone’s contacts list, but not on Facebook.
The interface has been given a makeover as well, with the cleaner look and a redesigned icon.
Clearly the pressure is now on Whatsapp, with Facebook Messenger also jumping in the fray for a pie of the instant messaging market. The current IM ecosystem leader was already facing pressure from the BlackBerry Messenger, which has seen a rather exciting launch recently, and already added more than 10 million users on Android alone in the first week of launch. Whatsapp currently has around 300 million users, and counting.
On the left is the Facebook Messenger for Android, and on the right is the app installed on an iPhone. The competition with Whatsapp is certainly going to be a rather fiery battle, but Whatsapp could be the underdog in the pack, if it manages to retain the current level of excitement.
Interestingly, Facebook has moved away from trying to integrate the system SMS as well, at least on Android, and instead focusses its attention on the larger IM user base, including those who may have deliberately stayed away from making a Facebook profile till now.
Download: Facebook Messenger