Zing – Mobile Instant Messaging, Can it scale?

2012 February 13
by Ismail Dhorat

Zing, a mobile instant messaging client from South Africa have recently launched. The service was developed by Blazing Chili. Check out the video below, the video below. If you have ever played the game little big planet, you would think this was a promotion of an LBP game/level. They seem to have taken quite a bit of inspiration from LBP, even the voice over sounds like the guy who does LBP.

Impressively, zing have launched on the following platforms:

  • Android
  • IPhone
  • Blackberry
  • Java Basic (feature phones, i.e Nokia S40)
  • Java Advanced

Zing changes thing up a bit on a tradditional MIM, by adding a few additional features such as a gamification features (Points etc). It also adds content delivery, in a concept called “Zones”, i.e users can subscribe to content about subject x. I think of it as way for brands/news organisations to distribute content via mobile.

While RIM may be loosing ground internationally, it is one of the biggest platforms in South Africa and other emerging markets, one of the main drivers in ZA has been BBM.

The difficulty with MIM, is achieving consistency and reliability with millions of users, not many company’s can claim to this. Last year Live Profile went viral, with millions of users signing up in a short period of time, however the platform could not scale. I tried it out for about a week, attempted to use it, but had to delete the app. The number one issue with LiveProfile, you never knew if your message was actually delivered. Sometime’s it took several hours before a message reached it’s destination.

Mxit and what’s app are quite reliable, it remains to be seen if Zing will be as well.  The gaming elements are interesting, and if well thought out could result in people sticking around just long enough to ensure some amount of success (see foursquare)


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