No one likes paying for text messages, right? And there’s only so many things you can do with an SMS. No photos (that’s called MMS), no location sharing, no read receipts, nothing that you’d associate with modern instant messaging platforms. WhatsApp is the most popular OTT (over the top) messaging service, but right behind them is a competitor we can’t help but love called Viber. Today the company is announcing that they’ve surpassed 140 million users and that they’re adding members at a rate of 400,000 per day. How does that compare to WhatsApp? We don’t really know because the company doesn’t like to disclose numbers, but many analysts assume it’s in the 200 million to 300 million range.

Why use Viber instead of WhatsApp? They both do the exact same thing. You install the app, it asks you for permission to scan your address book, and then it enables you to message your friends who are also using the app for free. The thing is, we just like how Viber looks. It’s cleaner. It’s easier on the eyes. That may seem like a shallow reason, but hey, first impressions count!

So what platforms does Viber support? Android, of couse, iOS, Windows Phone 7 (not 8), Nokia (S40 and S60), BlackBerry, and even Samsung’s feature phone operating system Bada. The latest version of the app, released today to celebrate the 140 million user milestone, now has location sharing and “sticker support”, which is just a fancy way of saying animated photos that teenage girls like to add to the end of their messages.

We’re curious, which apps do you use to message your friends for free? We know Android phones come with Google Talk out of the box, but that’s an account based IM service, not a phone number based iMessage/BBM type client. There’s a key difference between the two.

Read comments