Cubie, a free messaging from Taiwan centered around drawing and multimedia, has added voice calling to its service today. Calls are rolling out to all 7 million registered users in beta mode, as the app pushes beyond text and recorded voice messages.
500 Startups-backed Cubie — which raised a $1.1 million seed round last year — explains that calls have been the single most requested feature from users. Don’t expect a cellular standard experience just yet, but quality will ramp up based on feedback and developments, the company says.
“As it’s in beta, we hope you understand that call quality may sometimes be poor (partly due to your Internet connection) and other service disruptions might occur – please forgive us while we work on providing an even better, more stable calling function.”
We’ve tested the voice calling service and, while not as robust as other messengers or a regular phone call, it’s an interesting addition that is sure to increase engagement. It has a couple of nice tweaks, including a button that allows you to return a missed call with one click.
Interestingly, when I sat down with Cubie husband and wife co-founders in July last year, they said there were no plans to introduce voice calling. Since then, many messaging apps have introduced video calling, in-app gaming, music and other services, so it makes sense that Cubie is stepping up its offering too.
The app allows users to draw images and share their creations and photos, and now Cubie has also gotten a dedicated ‘media library’ which houses all content that has been shared between users.
Cubie has come a long way since its launch one year ago. It recently revamped its chat screen layout to give more prominence to media, and, though Southeast Asia has become its largest market, it is gaining traction in Latin America and Europe after launching support for Spanish in January.
The service supports 12 languages — including English, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), German, French, Thai and Indonesian — and it is crowdsourcing others. Those interested in lending a hand can visit getlocalization.com/cubietranslations to help.
The company isn’t drawing revenue right now, but it has laid the groundwork to sell stickers (feature-rich emoticons) and other virtual content which it currently offers for free.