Wire is a bright new communication app backed by Skype co-founder

A bold new communication app called Wire has launched on iOS, Android, and OS X, and it has the backing of a heavyweight.

Janus Friis is one of the co-founders of Skype, the communication app that has pretty much become synonymous with communication apps – or at least VoIP calls.

Wire is a little different, combining elements of a number of rival applications such as WhatsApp, Slack, and yes, Skype.

Speaking to The Guardian, Friis revealed why he was backing this new Skype rival. “What attracted me to Wire is that it is something truly new. This is not some marginal improvement. This is not just an app,” he said.

“What the team has done is a complete from-the-ground-up reimagination of what communication should be,” Friis added.

Wire is based around conversations – either one-to-one or group – into which can be dragged photos, YouTube videos, and SoundCloud videos. Wire smartly arranges your contacts according to metrics such as the regularity of your chats and the time of the day or week. You can ‘ping’ these contacts to get their attention, and muting irritating conversation threads is made extremely simple.

“We want to solve all those little, nagging problems that have been persistent for years and years in digital communications,” explains Wire chief executive Jonathan Christensen, who also worked at Skype for a number of years.

One of those nagging problems is security. Wire uses end-to-end encryption for all its voice calls, and also encrypts all message data to and from its data centres.

It’s all done in a highly visually appealing way – far more stylish than most communication apps. It’s got hints of Google’s new Material Design, as seen in Android 5.0 Lollipop, and Apple’s iOS 8 in places.

Another major feature of Wire is its voice calls, which are rendered in extremely high quality. It utilises the Opus open source audio codec, which was co-developed by the company’s chief scientist Koen Vos.

One feature that is missing at this point is video calls, though this is expected to be added at a later date.

Wire is available to download now for free for iOS, Android, and OS X.

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