Viber, the mobile messaging app bought by Japan’s e-commerce giant Rakuten for $900 million, is spreading its wings beyond voice calling on mobile after it introduced video calling to its Android and iOS apps.
The service has offered video calling from its desktop apps for some while, but Viber CEO Talmon Marco tells TNW that it is now ready to replicate the experience on mobile, after two years of work and testing. Marco says that the service is robust enough to support video calling even on the most basic network connections, but obviously a weak signal won’t produce an HD-quality experience.
In addition to Viber Video Calls, Viber 5.0 for Android and iOS introduces QR codes for sharing contact details — so if you meet someone new and want to share details, it’s as simple as scanning their code using your phone.
Marco, who tells us that he remains very hands-on despite Viber’s lucrative exit, says that the company is preparing three more “big” releases before the end of the year. One will be games, he says, and we suspect another might be the integration of Rakuten’s e-commerce service — something that Rakuten thinks can “completely change” its business.
“Our mission isn’t over,” Marco says. “Now that you can make video calls from your phone as well as on your PC and Mac, you can always talk in the way that’s most convenient for you, wherever you happen to be. ”