You don’t need a Facebook account to use the new Messenger for Android app

4 Dec 2012

Facebook’s popular Messenger for Android app has been given an interesting update that means anyone can send messages to their phone contacts, even if they don’t have a Facebook account.

All users need to use the new Messenger for Android is their names and phone numbers.

According to Facebook, the feature will be available first on Android in Australia, India, Indonesia, South Africa and Venezuela.

Global rollout will begin in the coming weeks.

The timing of the update is interesting when you consider it was only yesterday that the good old SMS message marked its 20th anniversary.

Does Facebook plan to wrest the messaging crown from SMS at a time when more and more people around the world are using smartphone devices?

There are some 50m downloads so far of Facebook Messenger for Android.

It had been rumoured in recent days that Facebook has been sniffing around another mobile text messenger app service, WhatsApp, which has 100m downloads.

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