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Samsung's ChatON tops 100 million users, threatens BBM

Samsung's own-brand chat service has amassed a whopping 100 million users, just two years after its launch, putting it up with the likes of BBM and Line.

Big number alert! Samsung's own-brand chat service ChatON has amassed a whopping 100 million users, the Korean company has announced, just two years after its launch.

It's accelerating too, having added 50 million users in the last four months. Samsung puts that down to its multi-platform availability: "The service provides a seamless experience where users can access ChatON through PCs, Samsung feature phones, and all the major smart phone operating systems: Android, iOS, BlackBerry and Windows Phone," it boasts.

That compares with around 75 million users on BBM, which is due to join ChatON on Android any time soon, possibly leading to a resurgence for the BlackBerry app. Over 100 million people, mainly in Japan and the Far East, use Line. The big daddy in messaging is WhatsApp, however, with roughly 300 million users.

It's not quite comparing like with like, however. Those are the big numbers that each service likes to boast about, but some, such as BBM and WhatsApp, count daily users, whereas ChatON is measuring registered users. It doesn't say how many use it every day.

ChatON comes preinstalled in the majority of Samsung's phones, both its mid- and high-end Galaxy Android phones and its cheap-as-chips Bada phones. It's not compulsory to sign up and use it though, so it's impressive that 100 million people have given it a go at least once.

The next step is to make it better integrated into Samsung's other paid-for services, like music, movies and apps.

"Samsung knows that it must move up into software and services if it is to preserve its margins and ChatOn is looking like a good start," says Radio Free Mobile analyst Richard Windsor. "Everyone scoffs at Samsung's ability to write software and 8 years ago I was among them. Things are quietly changing."

How do you chat? What do you like about ChatON? Leave a message in the comments below, or over on our chatty Facebook page.