The founder of smartwatch company Pebble has launched universal chat app Beeper that allows users to access messages from multiple apps in one place.
Previously called NovaChat, Beeper was developed by Eric Migicovsky, founder of now-defunct smartwatch company Pebble, whose intellectual property was bought by Fitbit in 2016.
For a $10 monthly fee, Beeper offers users a “unified inbox” made up of 15 different chat networks, including Whatsapp, Instagram, Slack, iMessage and Signal, meaning messages across the different platforms can be viewed in one place, with the ability to search across messages.
Available on MacOS, Windows, Linux iOS and Android, Beeper is built on open source federated messaging protocol Matrix. Element Matrix Services bridges between different apps, meaning a user can communicate with a user of a different app through Beeper. The code for these “bridges” is open source and available on Gitlab.
Beeper’s open API also means that developers can build plugins, integrations and extensions on top of the platform.
However, when it comes to making iMessage work on Android, Windows and Linux, the process becomes more complex. According to its website, Beeper will send users a jailbroken iPhone with the Beeper app installed which bridges to iMessage, or they can used a Mac connected to the internet to act as a bridge.
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Matthew Hodgson, co-inventor of Matrix said:
“We’re delighted to see Beeper taking advantage of Matrix. It’s great to see the Matrix ecosystem thriving, and to see our interoperable decentralised technology challenging outdated walled gardens like WhatsApp, iMessage and Signal.
“Originally it was just Element that was taking on the likes of Facebook, WhatsApp, Slack and Teams. And Element Matrix Services – the world’s largest Matrix-based hosting platform – which gives companies an easy enterprise-ready way to take advantage of open, real time communication.
“But we’ve seen a big growth in the number of Matrix apps being created, which is exactly why we created it in the first place! So whilst Beeper is attacking the consumer space, alongside Element who also owns the collaboration one, you can see Famedly specialising in healthcare, or Citadel in the defence sector. Matrix was created to give freedom to the user to choose the app they prefer to communicate, it’s fantastic to see this dream come true!”