Mobile messaging app WhatsApp has hit a huge total of 250 million users, the company has told the Wall Street Journal. A couple of million users these days is no big deal, considering how big the smartphone audience has become, but 250 million users is significant. In fact, it's on par with Twitter or LinkedIn, and nearly the size of Skype.
WhatsApp is one of a series of apps that allow users to send text messages back and forth to any device for free. Essentially, it's a "text-over-IP" type of service. That may not sound all that interesting (and again, there are a number of apps that do this, going all the way back to AOL's own Instant Messenger), but sending messages without paying an individual charge is obviously very appealing to a large audience, and WhatsApp has put a lot of those people together on its network.
WhatsApp is also notable for charging a US$0.99 premium cost right up front, without any other in-app purchases or hidden fees. With a simple-to-understand, easy-to-use and one-time-pay messaging service, maybe it's easy to see just why WhatsApp is so popular.