Kakao Talk Transforms into a Full Mobile Platform
Korea’s favorite messaging app, KakaoTalk, has evolved tremendously since we first wrote about it. Nearly ubiquitous in Korea, KakaoTalk has transformed into a full mobile platform that supports a whole ecosystem of apps. According to VentureBeat, developers in Asia such as Kakao Inc. “are advancing the mobile space in unique ways.” Kakao Inc.’s push beyond messaging has opened doors for many other companies and app developers who latch onto Kakao’s platform and its success.
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A Platform Within a Platform
Take for example, Anipang. The hugely popular game by SundayToz built on the Kakao Game platform perfectly illustrates how apps can tie in with KakaoTalk to integrate customers’ contact list to share and rank friends, fueling competition and greater interaction.
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Another game app to take advantage of the Kakao platform is NextFloor’s Dragon Flight, which racked up 11.6 million downloads in Korea within one month (source: http://tnw.co/Yq7Yzb).
Since the platform was opened internationally, new games have come out at a rapid pace. Korean company LoadComplete, created Disco Panda, which has climbed to become one of the five most popular games at the time of this writing. It is another puzzle style game like Anipang with a panda bopping to the beat of disco music in the background. Get your groove on!
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Kakao Chatting Plus: More than Games
Besides games, there are also apps that enhance the user experience within KakaoTalk. Lets look at two popular apps that can be downloaded directly within a KakaoTalk conversation (see image below).
Developed by Amusepark, DrawingTalk for Kakao expands the way you can communicate on KakaoTalk. Instead of simply typing text, you can use this app to literally draw pictures and then share them within KakaoTalk conversations. This app comes in handy if you need to show something visually or even draw directions on top of a map. You can create images from scratch or draw over an existing image that you already have in your photo library. For those of you who have a Samsung Galaxy Note, this is a nice supplementary tool.
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Another app, developed by Kiwiple Inc., is called Filter Camera for Kakao. This app allows you to edit photos and directly upload them into KakaoTalk conversation boxes or Kakao Story. By using this app, photos are edited just the way you want and can be shared easily among friends.
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A Social Network Platform
Launched about one year ago, Kakao Story is an Instagram-like app that connects via KakaoTalk. As of March 2013, this photo-sharing social network has managed to rack up 35 million users of all ages. The relative ease of navigating the app might be the reason for its popularity, plus you can add and invite friends directly from your KakaoTalk contact list.
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A Integrated Voice Calling Option
KakaoTalk users do not need to open a separate app to make calls (like Skype or Viber). Instead, you can just use the Group Call option to organize a phone call between three to five friends within KakaoTalk. You can also have a private conversation with one person also and not worry about expensive phone bills. Two character voice filters are available (Talking Tom and Talking Ben) which add a little color to the calling option. If you haven’t tried already, I highly encourage you to test it out with a friend. The voice filters are still pretty hilarious to me no matter how many times I use them. This voice chat option is available over wifi, 3G or LTE connections.
Photo Credit: KakaoTalk official Facebook page
What Else is New?
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Kakao Inc. is also testing out a beta version for PCs. The company asked people to sign up from March 20th to 24th to be the first test users. They are planning to officially release the PC version at the end of May.
Looks like Korea is becoming a major hub for mobile app development. Are you a fan of KakaoTalk?