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Viber updates Android and iPhone apps with Push to Talk, Stickers and more

Instant messaging app, Viber, has launched the updated version (version 4.0) of its platform on Android and iPhone.

The Viber version 4.0 is a major update to the platform as it brings two, new core features including a new Push To Talk feature for instant voice messaging, and a new Sticker Market for downloading free and paid stickers to monetise the service.

The new version of Viber also offers support for Android tablets, with the new user interface taking advantage of the tablet form factor.

"This version of Viber is all about expressing yourself in more fun, exciting ways. Our new Sticker Market offers over 1000 unique, fun, expressive characters, many of which were designed specifically for our users in Asia," said Talmon Marco, CEO of Viber. "Also, we are the first of the major messaging services to add Live Push To Talk, streamed instantly between users. No sending, no waiting."

With the introduction of Push To Talk, Viber users will be able to send short voice messages to each other. Viber claims that its Push To Talk feature is significantly better than that of other messaging apps. It elaborates that typically, Push To Talk is a four-step process, with the user being required to record, send, download, and play. However, Viber says it manages to do all four at the same time reducing the average response time to a 15 second message to 4-6 seconds. It's worth pointing out that popular messaging platform WhatsApp had also recently introduced Push to Talk, allowing users to send voice messages by pressing a single button. It's also available on apps like WeChat and Voxer.

In line with the latest trends, Viber has also added multiple stickers that users of the app can exchange with other users. It has even released a dedicated sticker marketplace, the Viber Sticker Market, where users can access a larger selection of stickers. The market will feature exclusive content related to events and holidays and will be regularly updated with new content, as per the company. Stickers are offered by other messaging apps including Line and WeChat.

The company also unveiled Mayo and Blu, two new featured characters, apart from other new characters.

The new tablet-optimised interface of Viber works in a way similar to the app's desktop version, bringing the user's mobile contacts to the tablet and offering full synchronisation with messages and calls on the other devices.

The Android version brings improved notifications for Android 4.0 and above, and offers the ability to use Viber messaging while on a Viber call.

In addition to the new major updates, the new version of Viber also brings some other enhancements including the ability to forward messages to any group or contact, choose new conversation backgrounds from a custom background gallery, and have group conversations with up to 100 participants.