After gaining notoriety for its popular cross-platform video chat apps, Tango has decided to tackle a decidedly lower-tech challenge: text messages.

With the latest Tango update, users will be able to send and receive free text messages in a streamlined interface that also includes Tango’s video messages.

By adding text messages, Tango hopes to be the one app that you’ll use to stay in touch with friends and loved ones, CTO and co-founder Eric Setton told VentureBeat in an interview last week. Text messages also puts Tango in company with the likes of Facebook Messenger and Apple’s iMessage, though Facebook doesn’t have video chat capabilities, and iMessage doesn’t work outside of iOS.

Setton tells me Tango now has 55 million registered users, with 40 percent of them being active in the past month. The company has apps available for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and Windows PCs. Cross-platform functionality is one of Tango’s greatest strengths: Setton demonstrated how a text and video message from an iPhone instantly appeared on an Android.

As part of the update, Tango will also be making video messages entirely free (previously the company had a complicated method of charging users for video messaging). And to spice things up a bit, you can also send Tango’s Surprises (short and fun animations) within the messaging interface as well.

Palo Alto, Calif.-based Tango has raised around $87 million in funding, most recently from a $40 million third round in April. Investors include Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Michael Birch, Andy Bechtolsheim, and Bill Hambrecht.

Photo: Devindra Hardawar/VentureBeat