Android Apps

Kik: the cross-platform IM app exploding in popularity

November 4, 2010 | by Andrew Kameka

Commmunication

kik2

Kik Messenger had 30,000 members on October 21. Fast forward to November 3 and that number ballooned to 450,000 members. So how did one instant messaging app get so popular that it increased in size 1,400 percent?

According to an announcement, Kik went viral to the point that the company had to temporarily suspend downloads to prevent its servers from collapsing. I witnessed the increase first-hand over the past few days when my Facebook feed became littered with friends announcing their Kik user names. After reading about it on Twitter, I decided to give the app a try.

Kik is an instant messenger app that supports Android, BlackBerry, and iPhone. That’s it. Users sign-up, see their friends who are also on the service, and start chatting away. There aren’t many features, so this is basically just a way to chat with friends who have opted for Kik rather than AIM, MSN, or any of the other instant messaging options out there. For what it’s worth, I ended up chatting with a long-time friend who I haven’t spoken to in years because she was on Kik.

The ability to run across the three major U.S. smartphone operating systems has done wonders for adoption of Kik. BBM limits members to contacting only their friends with BlackBerry, GTalk is not standard on non-Android phones, and the many other chat protocols for some reason have not been attractive enough for any one to become common.  I’m quite surprised to see Kik increase in popularity at its current rate, but the app is on its way to becoming the standard chat tool.

Download Kik from the Android Market.