There are so many chat apps it’s breaking my brain to try to think of them all. We’ve covered several here—recently—on DailyTekk. So why, oh why, would we be covering yet another one? Well, that’s sort of an unfair question, but since you wondered: DailyTekk loves tech and startups that actually help people live better lives and this app is different in that the team that built it views themselves as helping to usher in an entirely new phase of communication apps. So all the other chat apps out there? They’re on a lower plane of existence—or something like that.
Wire is a modern communication app developed for mobile, tablet, and desktop where text, talk, pictures, video and music are woven together seamlessly. Ya, I know—when you just read about it’s hard to picture it being any different than any other app—but seeing is believing. If there’s one thing that really sets this app apart from others it’s an appealing, gorgeous, alluring design.
Jonathan Christensen, CEO of Wire, explains what sets the app apart in his mind:
“At Wire we believe we are nearing the end of the first Wave of internet communications applications. The first wave was functional and characterized by “free” – free calls, free texting. The next step can be better — whether it’s design, functionality, or user experience. There are better devices, more computing power, and faster networks available today. We are focused on harnessing these capabilities and pairing them with a beautiful design to deliver a rich communications experience. Ultimately, we want to offer an experience that is as close as possible to in-person, real life communications.”
So, really, when I think it over I come to the conclusion that Wire basically is what a “communication app” should be: it touts great call quality, is very well designed, allows for group conversations with up to 128 people (wow), has a great YouTube, SoundCloud and GIF experience right out of the box, encrypts your calls and secures your texts (why don’t all apps do this now?) and is available everywhere—not just on phones. That’s what I’m talking about.
Individually, these features are just nice-to-haves. They’re kind of small. But as a whole they add up to something big: a must have. To me, this is the bottom-line benchmark chat and communication app—the bar is officially set.
“Since our launch we’ve received lots of positive feedback about the elegant UI, high resolution full screen photos, but we’ve heard the “wows” about call quality,” says Jonathan. “Wire’s audio is noticeably better than other services. Our focus has been on high fidelity communications across all features and call quality is an area of continued focus and improvement.”
This is also very important. You can have great features, but if they don’t work—it’s pointless. I can’t tell you how many apps I have downloaded because they promised something only to uninstall less than a minute after opening because the execution and the quality wasn’t there.
“After the launch of Wire for Web we have seen more people using Wire on both mobile and desktop and they tell us they are impressed that Wire is always in “sync”. If you use Wire on your desktop at the office, conversations will be in sync when you get home and check your iPad (or any supported device). Even real time services like calls are simultaneously visible across all devices, “says Jonathan.
And think about it: being able to start a conversation on your phone and pick it up on the Web is a really nice feature. It’s very Apple-like. All of your bases are covered. And if your friends/family need to be in on a convo—they can be because so many platforms are supported.
At the same time, Wire had to make the tough decision not to support legacy device platforms—older model phones or platforms will small/declining market share. Instead, the team has been focusing on the most relevant and high-growth device segments.
The response to Wire’s launch in December saw 20 registrations per second during peak times—and Wire has now been downloaded in every country worldwide. To the Wire crew, this indicates that people are interested in a new communications experience that goes beyond “free.”
Jonathan says that Wire needs to establish the feedback loop with the community and act quickly to make adjustments and prioritize new features (which requires an active conversation and a technical architecture that is flexible). And there have been some complaints already.
One iTunes reviewer complains: “Can’t delete conversations. Only archive. No delivery or read receipts. Lacking a lot of functionality.” Well, that’s a startup for you. They aren’t everything all at once; features get improved and added over time as feedback rolls in.
Wire is one not only to watch and be aware of, but to use.