Tango, a provider of the over-the-top video calling, announced additional features today including text messaging, picture sharing and an interactive gaming experience.
The company hopes the new features will expand and differentiate its platform from the many other competitors on the market.
Eric Setton, co-founder and chief technology officer for Tango, said in an interview with Wireless Week that adding additional modes of communication, such as text messaging and photo sharing, are part of an emerging space that covers both communications and social networking.
"What this means it that there are a number of apps that will in the next couple of years offer all the modes of communication...and I think that's the opportunity ahead for Tango," Setton said.
OTT services like Tango, Skype and others have become the favored interim solutions for consumers as carriers look to develop their own IP-based voice, messaging and video-calling applications.
MetroPCS was the first carrier in the United States to launch its own voice-over-LTE product, and Rich Communications Suite is being pushed as a standard for operators looking to offer exactly what Setton is talking about—one application that includes all modes of communications.
In addition to messaging and photo sharing, Setton said the company will also begin selling a series of premium content packs from major brands like Sesame Street, Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake. The packs will include things like animations and photos that can be sent to other users of the service.
"I think that those brands are excited about using us as a platform to showcase their content and reach our audience," Setton said.
Tango can definitely offer an audience. The company currently boasts 65 million registered users and is adding over 5 million new customers every month.
Perhaps the most unique aspect of today's announcement is the launch of an interactive game titled “Squish.” The game was developed in house and allows members to compete against each other in squishing bugs on the screen while also have a video conversation.
Setton said the new service is a natural evolution for the company.
"Tango Surprises was our first step in providing animated interactions within the application and now, by developing this game, we’re able to give people more ways to communicate and have fun together,” Setton said, noting that games are just one more possibility for content creation and distribution.
Tango members are able to play Squish for free and new games will be added as in-app purchases to the Tango storefront in the future.