WeChat, the messaging app chat, will be rolling out a new feature which will see the release of “mini programs” that can be accessed without the need to download them.
The communication sector has seen a rapid growth over the years. It now offers a great variety of apps. From chatting to photography, modern internauts use many such programs. Now, WeChat will be offering a single access portal.
- WeChat is a Chinese chatting app.
- It is developed by Tencent, a Shenzhen, China-based company.
- The cross-platform, instant messaging service was first released back in 2011.
- WeChat offers text, video, and audio messaging options.
- It also has some Facebook, ApplePay, and Instagram-like included functions.
- It is considered to be one of the biggest standalone chatting apps.
This was established based on its monthly number of active users. The app reported that over a billion accounts have been created. Amongst them, more than 750 million are active users. Its main area of use is China. However, it has over 70 million users outside of the said area.
WeChat is available in more than one version. It can be accessed on Android and iOS powered devices. It also works on Symbian, Blackberry, and Windows Phone. Web-based variants are also available. They can be accessed through a Windows or OS X device. However, such versions are somewhat more basic.
On January 09, Tencent released a statement. In it, the company announced that it will be rolling out a new project. WeChat will come to feature “mini programs”. These are smaller versions of a program. They can be accessed through the WeChat app. An advantage will be the fact that they will not require downloading.
According to a Chinese media report, a number of programs are already available. They include online shopping platforms and taxi-hailing services, amongst others.
The “mini programs” will allow a direct access to said apps. They will be opened through the mini chat app. As such, users will be able to bypass the use of their device’s operating system.
WeChat payment is believed to mostly benefit from the feature. This latter is an option available to Chinese users. It remains to be seen if it will be rolled out globally. The payment system is based on user-provided bank account information.
As such, the users are able to pay bills or order goods. They can also transfer money or even pay in stores. A report stated that the mini program will greatly advantage this latter service. It might also help the app’s monetization.
Tencent reported that its app is used about 90 minutes every day. This is average utilization span targeting about 50 percent of the users.
Some analysts predict a future impact on the Chinese use of the Apple Store. Still, it may also be a solution for Android users. Google Play services are unavailable in China. As such, consumers rely on third-party app stores so as to be able to download programs. WeChat could potentially come to challenge such services.
Initial reactions to the feature are varied. Some consider it a solution to a potential device clutter problem. Shifting between apps should also reportedly be easier.
However, other users and analysts have a more neutral opinion. A number of tech insiders are unsure whether the “mini program” will catch on. They claim that they are just simplified versions. As such, users may still have to download to original apps.
In their part, some WeChat customers claim that shifting through the mini programs is the same as going through their full versions. And it reportedly takes just as long. Further opinions and the program’s efficiency remain to be seen.
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