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Kakao to unveil PC messenger in June

All Headlines 11:22 May 29, 2013

SEOUL, May 29 (Yonhap) -- Kakao Corp., the operator of namesake mobile messenger Kakao Talk, said Wednesday it will unveil the PC version of its popular messenger application in June, a move that could dramatically change the landscape of South Korea's instant messaging market.

Kakao Talk is a free messenger application that runs on the Android and iOS operating systems. Launched in 2010, it now has more than 90 million users worldwide, rivaling similar apps such as NHN Corp.'s LINE and California-based messenger WhatsApp.

The PC version of Kakao Talk is currently being tested to assess user reception, Kakao said. In March, 210,000 people applied for the 10,000 beta versions available.

"We're now at the finishing stages, reflecting feedback from our beta testers," a Kakao official said. "We expect the PC version to be out in June at the latest."

The desktop version of Kakao Talk will not have any added features, Kakao said, recycling the user interface in the mobile version, including friend lists, chat rooms and notification features.

Users will have to register their computers to start chatting and sending emoticons on their laptops. Log-in notifications will be sent automatically via the mobile app whenever users log onto the PC service.

Analysts believe Kakao's move could transform South Korea's instant messaging market, with 90 million of Kakao users potentially switching to the same service on PC, abandoning other desktop messengers.

Currently, NateOn, the messenger service by SK Communications Co., is the leading PC messaging service in South Korea with a market share of more than 80 percent.

"Considering the vast network of friends users already have on their Kakao app, the PC version of Kakao Talk could be a total game changer," an industry official said.


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