Messaging war survivor Kik retools with new custom features

Kik, the messaging app, is doing well as a back channel for social apps like Instagram. Now, with 30 million registered users, it’s pursuing its first update in a year and a half, creating a new way for people to add features like mini-apps.

Spotbros wants to become a location-based WhatsApp on steroids

Spanish startup Spotbros is trying to muscle into the mobile messaging market with an app that combines location-based communications with rich web-like messages and extra security. The company has raised $500,000 from former Nokia CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo and other investors.

GroupMe launches group event planning service

GroupMe is looking beyond messaging with the introduction of Experiences by GroupMe, a new group event planning service that is launching in New York City. It’s part of GroupMe’s larger plan to influence local spending and get a piece of the local ad and offers market.

Hands on with Touch: Is a solid product enough at this stage?

Messaging apps. The words could just make you sigh at this point. From Facebook to WhatsApp to Apple, everyone has something to offer in this space. So can a new entry at this point possibly stand a chance? Touch, a new app, hopes so.

WhatsApp bucks convention, quietly builds a messaging titan

WhatsApp is now delivering more than 1 billion messages a day on six different mobile platforms, which it claims puts ahead of any other independent messaging apps. It’s built its success despite charging for its app, avoiding publicity and somewhat reluctantly accepting VC money.

Kik goes around RIM to get back on BlackBerry phones

Group messaging app Kik, which got off to a fast start before it was banned by Research In Motion, is back with a new app for BlackBerry devices. The new Java ME-based app will be distributed directly by Kik and brings back cross-platform support.

OS X code suggests iMessage could come to iChat

It seemed like a no-brainer when Apple first unveiled iMessage for iOS devices: Why not build it into OS X, too? Well, turns out we may soon see iMessage work across nearly all Apple hardware, if new code discovered in Lion’s iChat is any indication.

How many group messaging apps do we need? Samsung: one more

Samsung, the South Korean electronics giant unveiled ChatON today, a multi-media group messaging app that will debut in October on its own Bada OS and will also appear on other platforms such as iOS, Android and BlackBerry. It will compete in a very crowded market.

Keep tight control of group convos with Glassboard

Group messaging and conversation apps are everywhere these days. But despite all the competition, a new entrant with a less-is-more approach and emphasis on privacy might be just what some users are looking for. That’s exactly what the new iPhone app Glassboard offers.

Does Skype have Groupon envy?

Skype’s purchase of GroupMe has largely revolved around the communications side of the deal. But a big component is also GroupMe’s plans to monetize conversations by presenting local offers and discounts that help people make group decisions in real time.