One of the longstanding features of online chat applications has been their ability to allow users to circumvent text messaging costs by utilizing different internet connections. Popular messaging and communications app imo isn’t just great on smartphones, however; it’s also an excellent way to bring video calls and text chat to your Windows PC. The app has come a long way since its inception and now stands as one of the most popular text and video chat applications on the full spread of popular mobile devices. Whether you’re on iOS or Android, you have free access to imo in your respective app store. Now, thanks to imo’s native Windows PC version of the app, you can bring the same experience to your laptop or desktop computer.
However, that doesn’t mean that getting imo set up on your computer is as easy as it is on smartphones. You won’t have an “app store” to tap into for a simple download, and so a few extra steps are called for in order to get the application set up. Additionally, imo is still definitely a mobile chat application at heart, meaning that you’ll need a few critical pieces of information before it’s ready to use on your Windows PC.
First, a bit about how imo works. The app has gone through several large changes since it first entered the market, and it bears some elaboration for making sure that you’re up to speed on why people use it. Previously, imo used to allow you to aggregate your chats in several third-party messaging applications within imo itself, thereby consolidating the number of applications that you needed to have installed on your smartphone. This clever ploy came to an end some time ago, which caused quite the ripple in the messaging application field. Where it once didn’t matter how spread out your friends were across a multitude of apps (ICQ, Aim, Skype, Google Hangouts…we could go on and on), imo users were now faced with a standalone app that required others to create a presence on imo, specifically.
Thankfully, imo is a fantastic messaging platform, and its developers have always had a strong grasp of the app’s strengths. When you take into account its multi-platform flexibility as well as its ability to host video calls, it ends up being precisely the minimalistic type of chat program that many users are looking for. Whereas many chat applications that also feature video calling are practically bloated with an abundance of options and features (I’m looking at you, Skype), the imo interface is about as simple as it gets.
The best way that you can use imo on your PC? As a complimentary experience to the version already running on your smartphone! Let’s not even joke; almost everyone in the US has a smartphone in their pocket, and it’s not a far cry to guess that most users will want the same chat experience on their computer as they can have on their smartphone.
Downloading imo for Your Windows PC
Many guides to getting imo on your PC involve Android emulation, a process that is still possible, but no longer necessary! As of imo’s most recent release (December 18, 2015), there’s now a fully functional Windows client that will have you up and chatting in no team. It features a similar interface to imo’s mobile versions and has the same text message and video calling potential as its counterparts. Compared to Android emulation, it also gives you a cleaner installation process in that you’re completely circumventing third-party software.
That doesn’t mean that going the route of Android emulation has been made useless; it carries a few remaining benefits that we’ll elaborate upon at the end of this guide. However, your best choice is to download the Windows client of imo. When you first set eyes on the landing page of the imo homepage, you’ll see the various versions of the app that are currently available. In addition to the Android and iOS versions of imo, you’ll see the easy to install Windows client. Clicking it will link you directly to a download queue for the application.
You’ll also see a link to download the imo .apk file, which would be mightily handy if you were using it in an emulator. For now, the Windows client is all that you’ll require. Once you’ve downloaded it, run the installation process (it should be quite fast, considering that imo is a lightweight program.) After you boot up the program, you’ll be greeted by an optimized interface that’s well suited for Windows computers, but is still tailored to have that minimalistic simplicity that imo has become known for.
Using imo in Windows
When first signing into imo, you’ll be asked to provide the mobile phone number associated with your imo account. You’ll be sent an SMS text message with an input code as the sole step necessary to get you access to your imo profile. Though this is a simple step, it leads me to the first big recommendation I have that will help to make your imo experience even better. It’s not essential, but if you plan on using the app frequently, it’s going to make your life a lot easier.
Since you most likely started using imo on your smartphone, I recommend using your smartphone as the foundation for all of your imo activity. Why? I’ll give you a few rock solid reasons:
- Contact management is phenomenally easier from your mobile device. imo already uses smartphone’s contact list in order to popular your contacts within the app. Since your Windows PC doesn’t have the same easy access to an assembled list of people, it’s most easily done from your smartphone.
- imo is handiest on the go. While it’s all kinds of handy to have a clean-running release of imo on your Windows PC, its speed and efficiency shine brightest when they’re used on a smartphone. Quick access, fast messaging, and reliable video calling between all of your contacts all speak to a life on-the-go, the life of someone that always has their phone close-at-hand.
- The imo app originated on mobile devices. The Windows version of imo is pretty great to have around, but it’s not hard to see that it was built for smartphones. Though the app has changed a great deal since its inception (it no longer interfaces with the wide range of third-party applications that it used to), it’s still a top contender in the mobile messaging field.
In the long run, you can use the Windows imo client as your primary imo access point if you’d really like to. Based on my own experience, and the testimony of other users, however, imo is working at its finest when it’s installed on an Android or iOS mobile device. If you examine your options within the program itself, you’ll see that it doesn’t offer anything more than the mobile app; it merely arranged it into a Windows-optimized format.
Conveniently, if you’ve used imo on mobile, there’s not even a learning curve to getting used to imo on Windows.
Emulating and imo for Windows
Prior to the Windows client being released, the primary means of getting access to imo on your desktop was through the use of an Android OS emulator. As I said before, the release of a Windows version of the app has made any emulation unnecessary for most users. They required third-party software (the emulator) and frequently had users chasing .apk (application) files all over the web. However, there are still some circumstances where you might prefer to run imo through an emulator, rather than using the native Windows app.
- You’re a Mac user! While having a Windows client is all well and good, it doesn’t do much to help you if your laptop or desktop is a Mac. In this case, running imo through an Android emulator will give you access to the app where you might otherwise.
- You like running more Android apps than just imo! If you’re a fan of running an entire plethora of app–most good Android emulators make this possible–then it can possibly be more convenient to count imo among them.
- You frequently use more than one desktop computer, for any reason. In this case, using the web-based emulator, Manymo, can allow you to emulate Android apps without any software installation at all. The only caveat? Using Manymo more than ten times per month is going to cost you.
There are plentiful guides here on Appamatix to help you find a good Android emulator. Moreover, a simple query in any search engine will point you towards the top options available for your use.
Even though it’s changed quite a lot since its original release, imo remains a fantastic communication platform for mobile devices and desktop computers, both. With the new Windows imo app so easily available to download, there’s little to stop you from migrating your video calls and text messages from your smartphone to your Windows PC. If you have experiencing bridging your mobile and desktop imo experience (of if you have any questions!) speak up in the comments below!