Facebook tests all-new Messenger app for Android – gears up for war with SMS

14 Nov 2013

Facebook has begun testing a new-look version of its Messenger app for Android devices that will potentially broaden its appeal across devices and potentially compete with SMS.

The new Messenger app will be tested with a limited number of people first.

The new app also includes the capability to message other people who aren’t Facebook friends through Messenger, as long as you have their mobile phone number – opening a fresh new perspective for Facebook and its potential to challenge mobile operators on their own turf.

The new-look app comes with a new navigation pane that makes it easier to track recent conversations using swipe gestures and also the ability to see which friends are using the app.

Users will know which friends are using the app if they see the Messenger icon next to their names.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years