Mobile

Messaging app taps HTML5 so you can text any platform — even web browsers

How do you stand out from the plethora of messaging apps out there? For Chorus.im, it’s by aiming for something more than just a messaging app.

The company has developed a free HTML5-based messenger that works across every modern mobile device as well as any PC platform. Basically, it enables practically anyone to jump into a text chat — it’s not limited to specific platforms like iMessage and BlackBerry Messenger, and it doesn’t cut out desktop platforms like most other messaging apps.

chorus im screenshotChorus.im is clearly laying down its loyalty in the never-ending HTML 5 vs. native app debate. Building a truly cross-platform messaging platform would be much more complicated with native mobile apps, and it would also mean it would have to build an entirely different experience for desktop users.

“We’re big believers in the potential of HTML5 in the long-term. We firmly believe that it will eventually become the primary channel to distribute and consume mobile apps,” said Chorus.im founder and chief executive Steve Tran.

Somewhat ironically, Chorus.im is actually launching mobile apps for iOS and Android today. HTML5 doesn’t yet offer push messaging capabilities, which is critical for a messaging platform. Still, Chorus.im’s core technology is entirely built on HTML5 — I jumped into a live chat with Tran on my desktop without signing into anything. Once HTML5 adds push messaging, it will no longer need to offer standalone mobile apps.

You can start group chats on Chorus.im simply by emailing or texting people on your contact list. The service also stores your offline messages and chat history (not surprising, since it runs entirely in the cloud).

So why another chat service? You can use Chorus.im as a sort of disposable texting service, like if you’re communicating with a Craigslist buyer and trying to keep your personal number private. It’s also a helpful way to start a chat with less tech savvy folks — they simply need to click a link in their e-mail to join in, no log-in required.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based Chorus.im has raised $500,000 in angel funding, and it’s soon going to be in the market for a venture round.

Smartphone user photo via Takayuki/Shutterstock


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