WhatsApp (US$0.99) is a mobile messaging app with a difference — instead of putting up with ads in a free app, users pay for the app instead. On other mobile platforms, WhatsApp has gone to a subscription-based model, with an annual fee to use the service. The company is now going to put the iOS version of WhatsApp in line with those other platforms by adopting an annual subscription later this year.
For most of the other platforms, which include Android, BlackBerry, Nokia and Windows Phone, new users just download the app for free and then have a full year to enjoy the app before being charged $1 for another year of service.
WhatsApp hasn’t set an exact date for the change, but company CEO Jan Koum was quoted as saying “…definitely this year. It’s on the road map.” WhatsApp is a tremendously popular messaging app, transmitting 17 billion messages daily.
The future of the app is expected to remain in the mobile space instead of branching to the desktop. Koum said that “We feel strongly that the world is moving to mobile and [so] we want to be mobile-only.”