But where has it been? It turns out that Mxit has been here all along. Mxit launched seven years ago and everyone who had a cell phone, had Mxit.
As the years passed by and other instant messaging applications became available, some of us moved on to sleeker, quicker things: like smartphones. The bulk of Mxit's user base has always been people using feature phones. Now it's upped the ante by introducing smarter, prettier features.
Exciting new features
We haven't heard or seen much of Mxit, it was stuck and all it apparently needed was CEO Francois Swart to kick it back into gear. Since his appointment, Mxit has grown leaps and bounds and we now seem to find ourselves in a bit of a Mxit renaissance.
Mxit revealed some exciting new product features on Wednesday, 9 April, at the Truth Coffee Shop. Complementing the hip new features, Mxit chose the hippest coffee shop in Cape Town to set the vibe. The event was set off with some great conversation, complimentary beers and finger foods that had everyone eagerly awaiting the waiters' next pass by.
This kept all in company satisfied until Mxit was ready to deliver their short and effective presentation to introduce the crowd to its new product features. Stressing that Mxit is more than just a message replacer, but a space for important social interaction, these new features should give Mxit a bit of an edge in a highly competitive market.
Especially exciting is the new interface designed for iOS and Android devices. Despite many new and colourful features across the product, Mxit kept the iOS interface simple, making it more user-friendly and enhancing the experience of using Mxit on these kinds of devices. However, Mxit has been around forever and some of its users have not yet made the transition to newer technologies. Will they get left behind or pushed to buy newer technologies to enjoy the same Mxit privileges they had before?
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On the contrary, with Mxit it seems it's not out with the old and just in with the new. Far from leaving feature phone users (which it was originally created for) behind, Mxit closes the gap by creating new and creative ways for feature phone users to communicate on the same level as users of smartphones by using 'chatcards.' This nifty new feature allows users to source content from other sites like Youtube and GIF sites to make conversations more creative and interactive.
We're no longer stuck with just using words, but can use pictures and videos to express ourselves better. This allows feature phone users to chat and communicate as effectively as smartphone users even though their phones do not offer the same advanced functionality. Other new features include a newsfeed and address book integration. Useful as it is, it's hardly something we haven't seen before.
WhatsApp also uses address book integration, which makes it another favourite IM platform and a serious contender for Mxit. The newsfeed feature is something we've also grown use to by using Facebook and other social network apps. However, this does indicate an effort on Mxit's part to catch up and become part of the social network mix.
Now that Mxit has caught up somewhat and has some neat new features to share with the social world, they need to get out there. Users are constantly bombarded with WeChat TV ads, radio ads and competitions that you simply cannot say no to. All to let us know they're out there, available and waiting for us to push the download button.
Mxit needs to become more visible, so what is their plan? Well, they too plan to bombard us with radio shows, music and ad campaigns soon. The Mxit Music Studio kicked off this Sunday with radio stations YFM and Metro. Many artists such as Goodluck, iFani, Euphonik, Khuli Chana, Toya Delazy, AKA, Liquiddeep, Mafikizolo and Zakes Bantwini (who is also the face of the Mxit Campaign) are included in the Music Studio.
The question is can Mxit catch up quick enough before users get fat and comfortable in their WeChat, WhatsApp ways?