Amazon is Reportedly Readying a New Messaging Platform Called ‘Anytime’

Amazon is reportedly working on bringing a new mobile messaging platform to the table, according to customer survey details obtained by AFTVnews.

The chat service for iOS, Android, and desktop is said to be called "Anytime" and will include typical messaging features like encryption, video and voice calling, but with some novel touches added to the mix that suggest social network-style aspirations for the app.


For example, it looks as if Anytime users will only need to use a name – as opposed to a phone number, à la WhatsApp – to link themselves and invite others to the service, although its not entirely clear how this will work. There's also talk of Twitter-like @ mentions to involve users in conversation threads or to share photos.

Elsewhere in Amazon's customer survey information are references to additional features such as the ability to color code conversations, play games, order food together, split a bill, location sharing, and group music listening. Users will also apparently be able to chat with businesses through the service, make reservations, check on orders, and even shop, with sensitive content like bank details protected by encryption.

It's possible Anytime will be powered by Chime, Amazon's chat service for enterprise users that it launched earlier in the year. There's also potential scope for Alexa integration – given that the company recently launched messaging and calling features for Alexa devices, it could benefit from separating out these functions in a separate app.

There's no word on when the Anytime service might launch, but Amazon will have to show it can offer something genuinely fresh and appealing if it expects to convince longtime users of rival platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger to jump ship.

Whatever its plans, Amazon clearly isn't resting on its laurels in the hardware and connected services spaces. Earlier this week it emerged that Amazon is actively developing a redesigned Echo speaker to compete with Apple's forthcoming HomePod. Both smart devices are expected to launch later this year.


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Amazon Launches Call and Video Conferencing Platform ‘Chime’

Amazon's push into the services space continued today with the launch of Chime, a new online VoIP call and video messaging platform aimed at business users.

Apart from video conferencing and chat messaging, Amazon Chime allows users to host or join virtual meetings with a single click, and share content and screens across multiple platforms, including Mac, Windows, iOS and Android devices.


Amazon is pitching Chime as a more reliable, higher quality alternative to existing VoIP services like Microsoft's Skype, with a focus on making core communications services – voice calls, video conferencing, screen sharing, and instant messaging – easily accessible within a unified interface.
"It's pretty hard to find people who actually like the technology they use for meetings today," said Gene Farrell, Vice President, Enterprise Applications at AWS in a press release. "Most meeting applications or services are hard to use, deliver bad audio and video, require constant switching between multiple tools to do everything they want, and are way too expensive."


Amazon Chime is available for free in a basic version, which includes video calls for up to two people. Price plans for Chime start at $2.50 per month, with a higher tier plan of $15 per user for the addition of video and screen-sharing, among other features.

Amazon will hope that its new VoIP service can replicate the company's success in the cloud services space, but challenges lie ahead. Whereas AWS built its dominance early on in a relatively nascent market, Chime goes up against established players from day one. Chime for Mac and iOS are available to download here.


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