Elegant new messaging app Wire embraces extreme minimalism

There are a lot of communication apps out there, but you can add one more to that list. Wire is a new app that allows users to send messages, make calls, and share photos. Its founders say their focus is to make Wire as sleek as possible.

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    Wire is a new communications app from Skype founder Janus Friis.
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There's WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Viber, the list of messaging apps goes on. This week, another one was added to the mix.

Wire is a sleek new communication app created by Iconical, a Switzerland-based group of designers including Skype co-founder Janus Friis. Wire allows users to send messages, make voice calls, post pictures, share music, and pass around videos. The app even allows users to share YouTube videos and SoundCloud files through embedded players. The app is available on iOS, Android, and OS X.

“We asked ourselves how modern communications could look and work," Jonathan Christensen, Wire’s co-founder and chief executive, said in a statement. "How could we take full advantage of the latest devices and advances in cloud computing to deliver something that is really simple, very useful and truly beautiful?”

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Wire is focused on having "high fidelity paired with elegant design." The app is sleek, with a dark background and white font. 

"It has one of the most minimalist interfaces we've seen, in fact – so much so, that we had a tough time getting used to the Mac client's controls and figuring out how to switch accounts," wrote Engadget's Mariella Moon. "Navigating the mobile app felt more natural and entailed mostly swiping and pulling to access different screens."

Wire says it has a star-studded team behind it. The team includes former leaders from Apple, Skype, Nokia, and Microsoft. Mr. Christensen has worked at MSN Messenger and Lync. After Microsoft bought Skype in 2012, Christensen began working on Wire. He says the team's experience allowed them to solve the persisting problems of communication apps. 

“There are hundreds of features in the product, and a lot of refinement from being in this space for many years, and knowing where the pain points are,” Christensen told The Guardian. “We want to solve all those little, nagging problems that have been persistent for years and years in digital communications.”

Mr. Friis said the team needed to address a very different tech landscape this time around. 

“Skype was launched more than a decade ago. A lot has changed since then - we are all used to free calls and texting, and we have taken to carrying our computers in our pockets,” said Friis. “It is time to create the best possible communication tools, as beautiful as they are useful. Wire is just that.”

With messaging hacks and government data collection in the news, Wire is working to ensure that its security is as good as possible. Because the company is located in Switzerland, anyone looking to access information about users will have to go through a formal and well-regulated process. And, Wire uses end-to-end encryption for all of its voice calls, and encrypts data going to and from its data centers.

“Unlike a lot of small startups, we have made a significant investment and are thoughtful about security. We have a full-time security expert working with us, and we hire outside firms to audit who can see the data and under what circumstances,” Christensen told The Guardian.

Wire still has some bugs and can't currently support video chatting, but the company says those things will be worked out soon. Now all the app needs is people. The messaging app market is flooded. WhatsApp has 415 million users and Skype has 300 million users. 

“We’re laser focused in making it as good as it can be, and fill the space when people are ready to move on from the purely functional,” Christensen told The Guardian.

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