Mobile operator Orange’s audacious Libon project gets increasingly interesting as the years go by, and now it’s added a fresh take on mobile messaging into the mix – just hours after Facebook announced its acquisition of one of the major players in the field, WhatsApp. Having started off as a Visual Voicemail-type service called On Voicefeed that anyone could use regardless of their mobile network, Libon added low-cost international VoIP calling to any phone number last year.
European operator Orange’s Libon messaging and calling app will add a new feature that lets you send text, picture, and audio messages to your contacts for free , even if they’re not Libon users themselves. The Open Chat feature goes live on iOS later Thursday, with an Android update planned “in the coming weeks.” When a Libon user sends a message to a non-Libon user, they’ll be sent a link that takes them to an HTML5 chat window where they can continue the conversation. The HTML5 interface will also work on desktop browsers, as well as tablets. That gives you the power to chat with all your contacts for free, without having to hassle your buddies to download a dedicated app, which has been a stumbling block for similar apps like WhatsApp or Viber.