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At the end of last month, Facebook announced a brand new Messenger app for iPhone and Android. The app, which was a complete overhaul from what we’re already accustomed to was not given an exact timeframe as to when it would be made available. Now though, we have official confirmation from the social network itself that the newly updated Messenger app will be available today to everyone wielding an iOS or Android device. More details and direct download links for both platforms can be found right here.

In the day and age where SMS is facing an epic decline, IM services are booming. BBM for iPhone and Android was launched not that long ago, which broke the mold of exclusive same-platform messaging, and soon after, Facebook replied with its own implementation in the form of an enhanced and updated Messenger app for both iOS and Android.

Facebook Messenger iOS icon

The new Messenger app takes cues from a lot of IM based apps already in existence, and more prominently WhatsApp and Viber. By that we mean it now features phone number integration right off the bat, which makes it easier to contact those that are already in your phonebook, negating the need of actually having the contact added in your Facebook friends list. These fancy new SMS replacements are no good if we can’t find the people we want to communicate with, of course.

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The newly designed app also grants you the ability to see which of your contacts are using the app, making it easier for you to get in touch with them. Furthermore, going through your friends that are already in your contacts list has been made much easier, all thanks to the refined and refreshed user interface.

To wrap things up, the new Messenger app now lets you send photos to your contacts privately, granting you that little sense of security.

At the time of writing, the new Messenger app is slowly being rolled out to everyone around the globe, and might just take a while to land on your device thanks to the sheer scale of what is needed to make an app available worldwide on a variety of different stores. Hang tight though, it’s on its way!

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Personally speaking, phone number integration in the Messenger app has been something that I’ve been waiting for. Having been a diehard fan of other messaging apps on my iPhone, I have to say: the new Messenger for iPhone and Android app might actually be my next favorite app for sending instant messages. Apart from iMessage perhaps, but that’s not cross-platform now is it?

(Download: Facebook Messenger for iPhone / Android)

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