Amazon will increase the size of its US workforce by 55 per cent in the next 18 months

Amazon expected to launch all-in-one messaging app

Image credit: Reuters

Amazon is reported to be developing an encrypted messaging app called Anytime, designed as a direct competitor to WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and other popular messaging apps.

Anytime – an encrypted service – could integrate SMS, video and voice calls, stickers, gifs and emojis, games, photo sharing, ‘@mentions’ and photo and video filters. It may offer “new ways to hang out”, such as allowing group food orders and assistance with bill splitting.

People could use the messaging app to chat with businesses for customer service enquiries, to make reservations, check their online orders and shop.

The product would aim to break down a major barrier for many popular messaging apps; the need for a tag, already established connection or phone number to establish first contact. Amazon boasts that Anytime would allow consumers to “reach all your friends just using their name. No numbers needed,” although it is unclear how this feature would work.

According to a report by AFTVnews, Amazon has been carrying out surveys among its customers to collect feedback on which features should be included. Leaked screenshots revealed a list of potential features. It was reported by one customer that Anytime is a “ready product” preparing for launch.

Amazon has already made some headway into consumer communications technology, having launched Chime in February 2017, a video-conferencing service for businesses. The service, a direct competitor to Cisco’s WebEx and Microsoft’s Skype for Business, charges up to $15 per user per month for large video meetings and additional features. This is the price band most businesses are required to opt for.

The company’s multipurpose Alexa devices are also capable of messaging and calls, although this function is restricted by the need for both users to have an Alexa device or app. The soon-to-launch Echo Show, a touchscreen Alexa device, will be capable of hosting video calls.

Anytime is likely to be intended as a move to integrate voice, video and text communications within a device, while providing the various extra features other messaging apps offer in a one-stop service. Its ability to sync across all platforms, various devices and operating systems could render it a strong competitor to established messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

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