Viber Desktop Brings VoIP Challenge To Skype

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Viber Desktop is released on PC and Mac, while mobile apps also receive update

VoIP service provider Viber has signified its intention to take on market leader Skype with the release of Viber Desktop for PC and Mac.

Until now, Viber has only been available for smartphones, with applications available for iOS, Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry.  Users are able to make free voice calls and send messages over a mobile or Wi-Fi network using the popular apps, which have so far attracted 200 million users.

Viber claims its greatest strength is its easy activation process as users simply enter their mobile number to receive a confirmation code, and competes with other services like Skype and WhatsApp.

Viber Desktop launch

Viber DesktopIt hopes that by offering an “all-in-one solution” that allows full integration between smartphone and desktop, existing users will run Viber on all their devices, while new users will be attracted to the platform.

Contacts and conversations are synced between the mobile app and Viber Desktop, while calls can be transferred between the two with a simple tap or click. Messages will be sent to all devices, but will only issue an alert to the one that is being used at the time. Viber Desktop will also be the first of the company’s apps to support video calling.

Viber’s iOS and Android apps will also receive an update with new features such as video messages, last online status, performance improvements and security fixes. Viber BlackBerry will also be updated to ensure compatibility with Viber Desktop.

Skype challenger

“People spend a substantial amount of time on their smartphones,” said Talmon Marco, CEO of Viber. “However, a lot of that usage takes place at home or in the office, where they have laptops or desktops close by. With Viber Desktop you always get to use the most convenient device. You can seamlessly switch devices while messaging and even transfer calls between your mobile and desktop.”

Mobile instant messaging is now more popular than texting, with an average of 19.1 billion messages sent every day through over-the-top services, which are estimated to have cost mobile operators £8.8bn in 2011.

Viber has been one of the main beneficiaries of this trend, but it still has some way to go if it is to catch up with Skype, on which two billion minutes of voice calls are made every day.

What do you know about Viber-rival Skype? Find out with our quiz!

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