Once upon a time, there was a messenger called BBM. It was immensely popular amongst people using a certain device. People paid their operators money every month on top of their regular internet plan, just to use it. However, since it was device exclusive, its reign could not last forever. A new player came along and came out with WhatsApp, an app that let you communicate with friends and family via text and media, and was smartphone agnostic. Since WhatsApp works with pretty much all smartphones, it grew wildly popular and is now the de-facto messenger app on a large number of smartphones. But here is the crux: smartphones. Most of us have them, but most of the world does not.
GupShup was started in 2007 by a group of Valley-folk (namely Beerud Sheth, Ravi Sundararajan and Dr. Viswanath Ramachandran) who returned to India to start it, and is an attempt to connect all mobile phone users no matter what device they may have. GupShup used to be a popular chatroom-like web service, with a lot of (65%) users from smaller Tier II and III towns and cities in India. It now has an Android, iOS, Series 40 and Blackberry App, with 2 billion messages sent on it each month. But here’s the thing: you don’t need to have a smartphone.
GupShup users can text everyone in their contact list from the app. Even the ones who either don’t have the app installed, or don’t have a phone capable of running the app. Through the GupShup app, you can send unlimited SMSes to each and every one of your contacts. (It really in unlimited, with no ‘Fair Usage Policy’, we checked).
Here’s a video of their smartphone app:
Another feature GupShup prides itself in having is its emoticon support. Not only are their standard emoji, there are pages and pages of custom emoticons, a lot of them made specifically for the Indian context. These seem to be wildly popular amongst their users. You can even make your own Custom Emoticons and use.
“While every messaging app includes emoticons, most users get tired of them very quickly. By enabling users to submit their own, GupShup takes personalization and expression to a whole new level” said Beerud Sheth, Co-founder & CEO of GupShup Technologies. He added, “GupShup redefines what it means to have a heart-to-heart conversation”.
If you are a smartphone user with a lot of friends still on feature phones, you may want to consider GupShup. Head over to the App Store on your smartphone and give it a try. Don’t forget to let us know what you think.