Jongla unveils new features, takes on Whatsapp in Africa

Following the successful April launch of its social messaging app in Africa, Jongla has today announced a host of new features and detailing how people in Africa can save money and reduce their data requirements by switching from WhatsApp and other IM apps to Jongla.

Jongla is similar to WhatsApp and other IM apps in a number of ways: most importantly, people sign up using their existing mobile numbers and the apps work across different platforms. They are all free to download and use.

However, the Jongla social messaging service has been specifically developed for people living and working in Africa – and other emerging markets where data costs are high and coverage is unreliable. Jongla was designed to be the most data-light IM app in the world so it can help people save money and data.

This means it differs from other IM apps in a number of ways: Jongla takes only 3.4MB to download on Android phones compared to WhatsApp (23.7MB), Facebook’s Messenger (30.2MB) and more than20MB for most other messaging apps; once downloaded, Jongla uses just 10% of the handset’s memory as other messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp. This means users do not have to uninstall any apps to make space for Jongla and finally, Jongla’s unique data compression techniques means it does not consume as much mobile data as other messaging apps for essential background processes. It also enables users to share thumbnails of photos so their friends only download when they want, saving valuable data and money.

As a result of these differences, those already using WhatsApp, WeChat, Viber and other messaging apps in Africa will find that Jongla can be used more often and in more places whilst also saving on data and money.

Jongla enables users to send and receive unlimited free text messages, stickers, photos, videos and funny voice messages over the Internet using low-speed Wi-Fi networks as well as 4G, 3G, EDGE and GPRS.

Riku Salminen, CEO of Jongla, said “Jongla remains very economical in terms of data usage and the cost related to this. From download to daily use, Jongla saves people money. According to our studies, Jongla uses 80% less data compared to Viber and 25% less data compared to Facebook Messenger when you use it*. It makes all the difference for people living in countries where data is expensive.

Not only that, Jongla is fun and gives people lots of different ways to communicate and express their emotions.”

Today also sees the release of Social Messenger – Jongla’s most significant feature upgrade revolutionising how people can discover new friends by using Jongla.

In addition to chatting, Jongla users can now discover and interact with new friends based on their location with a built-in community feature called ‘People’. The feature was designed to enable users to be able to discover interesting new people around them. To protect user privacy, only an approximate location is given and the feature is optional.

Also added to Jongla’s Social Messenger is the ability to engage with user profiles with a choice of reaction. Reactions can be exchanged between people in Jongla’s community to express emotions from a simple thumbs-up, smile or even a virtual flirtation with a heart.

“We are continuing to make Jongla more social without sacrificing the essence of it all – private messaging”, added Salminen. “For those who want to broaden their horizons to discover and interact with new friends, the community of nearby people is only one tap away.”

Jongla is already localised to 33 languages and it can be downloaded for free by people living and working across Africa from the App StoreGoogle Play, Windows Phone Store, and Firefox Marketplace.

Jongla is an innovative Finnish-based company, specialising in operator-, device- and platform-independent instant messaging.  Established in 2009, Jongla was founded by entrepreneur Arto Boman. The company is owned by a group of private investors and management. To date, Jongla has received a total of €11 million in funding and been selected as a winner of Red Herring’s Top 100 Global Award 2013 – a prestigious list honouring the most promising private technology ventures from around the world.

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