Sunday, 2 August 2015
Silicon Valley in California is the world’s capital for social media invention. Hot new products like Apple watches, and Google Glasses, and apps, which become a way of life for the consumer to use all originate here.
One new app SOMA gaining incredible traction for instant messaging and other functions not previously available, was launched last week and is being downloaded rapidly in Saudi Arabia.
Since SOMA’s debut it has got about 2 million users from Middle East — 1.2 million from the Kingdom. Unlike other instant messaging apps, SOMA offers HD video calls and group chats of up to 500 people. Other messenger apps like WhatsApp can only support group chats of up to 100 people, and no HD video calls. But the best news of all is SOMA is free, whereas WhatsApp cost $1.99 a year.
The idea of SOMA messenger was developed by entrepreneur Lei Guo while he was attending Harvard Business School in 2011. At the time, he had already launched his first company, Coco Voice, which was one of the first startups incubated at the prestigious Ivy League School, at its Innovations Lab just outside of Boston. Coco has about 17 million users from Middle East, combining iOS and Android. About 2 million users are from Saudi Arabia.
As these numbers indicate, SOMA has been downloaded hundreds of thousands of times in Saudi Arabia alone and is the #1 most downloaded app on both iOS and Android in almost every country in the Middle East. Clearly this app is a “hot new must have download.”
Speaking to Saudi Gazette, Guo said, “Over the last four years working with Coco, I’ve heard a lot from our users and have come to understand what they want from communication tools. Our goal with SOMA Messenger is to build a better messenger for the global community.”
Stemming from the success of Coco, Lei wanted to develop a messaging app that offered a broader set of user-friendly communication tools that were focused on consumer security and the highest quality service available. To achieve this, he set about building it using proprietary distributed technology, meaning that it has a network of servers located all around the world.
SOMA Messenger’s highly encrypted service offers unlimited free, high quality voice calls, HD video calls with no buffering.
This is because each interaction on SOMA Messenger is handled by a server in the nearest country to the user, unlike other services, and can deliver the fastest messenger service available today.
Guo added, “With the messenger app market continuing to grow around the world, we’re still in the very early stages of experiencing what messenger apps have to offer. The services that succeed are going to win on quality, speed and security. SOMA Messenger delivers on all of that and so much more to come.”
In the last year alone, the messenger app market has exploded. The Economist magazine recently reported growth rates of over 100%, and an estimated 3 billion accounts worldwide.
All indications point to the use of messenger apps continuing to grow exponentially around the world.
Recent proof of this continued demand for better services is the overnight success of SOMA, that just joined this emerging, but crowded, space. It has gained unprecedented user adoption since launching last week.
To ensure maximum privacy, messages and calls are encrypted using the most secure encryption used by government agencies and entities.
“It has been really gratifying to see the way that SOMA Messenger has been embraced in Saudi Arabia and across the world. When I started to think about developing SOMA Messenger, my goal was to significantly improve upon what was currently available.
“I really wanted to make an impact on the standards of privacy and quality for HD video, voice and messaging while keeping it ad free and free of charge forever,” said its inventor Guo.
Instant messaging on apps have become a way of life for most of us, as it provides immediate time and access to people we want to talk to, no matter where they are in the world. While other messaging services like WhatsApp and Viber offer voice and video call functionalities, which sometimes don’t work well, SOMA Messenger’s globally dispersed servers, make it more reliable, more stable and more secure.
The continued growth of apps like SOMA Messenger, WhatsApp and the likes only prove that the messenger app market is not slowing down but in fact, gaining traction around the world. Not only that, but it is continuing to innovate and add more services to meet user needs.
This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on Sunday August 02, 2015.