Instant Messaging Service Gets Even More Chatty With New iOS Voice Call Feature

Cross-platform messaging service has been keeping quiet lately, but the company piped up earlier this morning to reveal that its iOS app has just gotten a substantial update. When pecking out messages just doesn’t cut it any more, iOS-based Imo users can now call each other over their Wi-Fi or mobile data connections.

While the update is likely welcome news for the service’s nearly 700,000 daily active users, it may seem as though Imo is a bit behind the curve. The mobile messaging space is a crowded one after all, and plenty of strong competitors — Viber, Nimbuzz, etc. — have long since offered voice calls between users.

Though the company is arguably late to the party, CEO Ralph Harik doesn’t seem to mind much. For now, Imo’s ace-in-the-hole continues to be its ability to aggregate messages from multiple popular messaging services (from Skype, Facebook Chat, and Google Talk all the way down to Steam) in a single app. It’s an approach that other services have tried over the years — remember eBuddy? — but Harik still sees it as a way for Imo to stand out in the crowd.

This new release brings the iOS client in line with the Android version, which was updated with voice call functionality back in February. It was perhaps the most practical choice to make at the time — CEO Harik says the company focused on Android first because it was easier to iterate, and the team wanted to ensure that they worked out as many issues as possible for bringing the feature to iOS.

Though Harik wouldn’t reveal how large a swath of the company’s Android userbase has made voice calls, he seems hopeful that this new iOS push will help drive usage of the feature “dramatically.” While the Imo app is available for BlackBerry users too (sorry Windows Phowners), there’s no word yet on whether or not voice calling will make the leap to that platform any time soon.