From a few to 100 million users in five years is pretty impressive, and that’s exactly what Nimbuzz has done. The Netherlands-based mobile communications company announced on Tuesday that it just crossed the 100 million user mark with 6.5 million coming from the U.S. The company provides a cross-platform mobile app that features VoIP calls, multi-platform instant messaging and direct file sharing between users.
Our first look at Nimbuzz in early 2007 left us uninspired. But perhaps the company isn’t to blame when you consider the mobile landscape at that time. Apple’s iPhone(s aapl) wasn’t yet in consumer hands, Symbian was the top smartphone platform, and here in the U.S., for example, 3G data networks were still getting rolled out and adopted by consumers. Fast forward 18 months and our second look at Nimbuzz showed far more promise as the evolution of mobile picked up the pace.
Why such growth in the takeup rate for Nimbuzz as well as other related communcations services from Skype(s msft), Fring, Truphone and others? The answer already appeared above: mobile. Gone are the days where we had to be in a certain place to get a call on wired line. Instead, our calls are finding us, regardless of our location, the network we’re on, or — perhaps more importantly — whatever device we’re using.
Going cross-platform has surely helped Nimbuzz just as support for various IM networks has: Let the consumers pick their device and support it whatever that choice is. It’s a smart move and one that Nimbuzz embraced early through Symbian, Java(s orcl), Windows Mobile(s msft), desktops and eventually the newer mobile platforms such as iOS and Android(s goog). Of course, it never hurts to offer a free or low-cost service that lowers the bill from your network operator too!