Remember Mxit? Yeah I had to stop and think for a second too. Not because it’s not thriving, but because I think many of the late 20 something and early 30 something generation, remember the platform from its early days, and have since forgotten about it. That’s all about to change.
Last week I watched with some interest as the chatter relating to this chat platform popped up out of nowhere on twitter. News of a new version erupted on my timeline, and my “fear of missing out” (fomo) got the better of me.
Now before I launch into this new app, let’s take a trip down memory lane. In the first few years of my career, when I was fresh out of varsity, I was still dating a varsity student. With this came restrictions such as student budgets and lack of airtime. Mxit, was the method of communication as it was basically free to use, and had a simple set up. This (below) is the Mxit I remember from 2007/2008.
Cut to 2013, and Mxit 7 could potentially change your personal preference of chat platforms. I think it is safe to say the majority of the western world use Whatsapp when it comes to smart phone chat apps. I know I use it to communicate with my friends and family in the UK, Aus and the States. They got in there early with a device agnostic approach and allowed emerging iPhone and Android users to snub the “BBM elite” and chat amongst themselves.
Then along came things like Facebook Chat, Viber, twitter DM’s etc… but nothing quite hit the chat spot to offer a sufficient alternative to Whatsapp itself.
Nothing that is, until now. Mxit is a South African based, mobile social network. Mxit 7 is their latest release which offers a dynamic and progressive chat platform that we as South Africans can be proud of. Not to drop names here but for some confidence setting, Michael Jordaan ex CEO of FNB, has been appointed Chairman of the Mxit board (http://bit.ly/16CMyJh ).
I downloaded the app during this past week, and have been playing around with it ever since. Aesthetically its worlds apart from its predecessor. You now land on a home profile page, which is more advanced than its Whatsapp and BBM counterparts. You can set up your profile image, cover image and even background images for your chat windows. They’ve essentially taken all the best aspects of what people love about chat platforms, and combined it with the best aspects of social media profiles.
You can set up groups, find friends and use Mxit apps, email and even create image galleries.
I know what you’re thinking… But it’s just another chat app, that’ll add one more beeping notification to my already busy smart phone. Perhaps you are right, but ask yourself this, have any of the alternatives to Whatsapp really hit the spot up until now? If you can honestly answer no to that question, perhaps now’s the time to branch out. What Mxit 7 brings you is a powerful mobile social chat network which will now run on more than 8 000 devices including tablets!
In terms of availability, Mxit 7 was officially released as of the 15th of November (2 weeks shy of its 9th birthday). It is available on feature phones and iOS devices, and will be available on Android and Blackberry in the coming weeks. Windows phones can expect to see the app early 2014.
Other cool features I quite like:
– Doodle chat: Where you can draw pictures on the screen or on images while chatting.
– Voice chat: Send and receive audio clips in the chat.
Not to sound like a telesales person, but if you are satisfied with your existing chat app, by all means keep at it. But what does it hurt to test out something that offers a little more than just simple text chat? Make chat an enjoyable experience, and give Mxit 7 a try. It’ll take some time to get all your friends and contacts to use it, but once they do, I doubt you’ll look back. Mxit has 7.4 million monthly active users, of which 6.5 million are in South Africa, so I doubt you’ll have trouble finding people to chat to.
My view is from an iPhone 5, here are some specific info for feature phones: