Cloud-based telephony API startup Twilio has made significant inroads into VoIP and other carrier services like SMS by launching products that work on the web and in iOS apps, supporting 90,000 registered developer accounts in the process. Today it’s widening that net considerably with the launch of a new Android client, the first SDK from the company to work on Google’s platform. And it hints that Windows Phone may be next in line.
Considering that Android is currently the most popular smartphone platform globally, this potentially gives Twilio a much bigger opportunity to deliver services to the wider smartphone market — with Android and iOS together accounting for 75 percent of the existing smartphone market, according to Gartner.
Twilio is kicking off its Android service with features to integrate voice features into Android apps: as with Twilio’s existing APIs for iOS apps and websites, the Android VoIP APIs effectively let developers incorporate VoIP features directly into apps, to create features like in-app calling that work without needing to launch any additional apps or services. Other features in the SDK include real-time presence, with developers able to build buddy lists to let users know who is online, and who can voice chat; and app backgrounding, which lets users receive voice calls even if the relevant app is not being used.
But what’s potentially most interesting about the launch of the Android SDK is that it could lead to some interesting bridges built between Android apps, iOS apps, web apps and traditional voice calls.
“We now support the vast majority of smartphones globally,” Thomas Schiavone, director of product management for Twilio, noted in a statement. “With this many developers and our proven success on iOS, we know we’ll see some incredible and innovative cross-platform communication apps in the months to come.”
Schiavone further said that there will be SDKs for other platforms coming soon — and hints that the next SDK to come might be for the Windows Phone platform. “We are looking at what will be next,” he told TechCrunch. “Android and iOS are the leaders, but at this time there is no clear number three. However, we are watching all the other platforms and are particularly interested in Window’s Phone.”
That would also make sense, given the strategic partnership Twilio already has with Microsoft. That partnership was announced earlier this month and means that Microsoft now offers Twilio’s APIs to tens of thousands of Microsoft Azure cloud developers.
In addition to that development, Twilio has been releasing a steady stream of other news in the last month that points to the company looking to expand quickly and make good use of its $33 million in funding to date. Its services are now available in 12 countries — 10 in Europe and the U.S. and Canada — and in April, Twilio hired a full-time executive in Europe, James Parton, poached from Telefonica. But it has also seen one significant executive departure, too: Danielle Morrill, an early employee who headed up marketing, just this week left to work on her own startup, the Y Combinator-backed Refer.ly.
The Android SDK has been running in a private beta, the company tells me, and from today it will be available to all Android developers.
Twilio, the cloud communications company, is reinventing telecom by merging the worlds of cloud computing, web services and telecommunications. Twilio provides a telephony infrastructure web service in the cloud, allowing web developers to integrate phone calls, text messages and IP voice communications into their web, mobile and traditional phone applications. The company is privately held and is headquartered in San Francisco, California.