500px is an iOS and Android app from the company of the same name. It is available now as a free download from the iTunes App Store and Google Play, and contains in-app purchases.
500px is a photo-based social networking app that encourages users to browse through the gallery of uploaded photos, upload their own, and connect with others who are checking out the same image. When 500px is first opened, users are given four options for logging in: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or a proprietary 500px account. Signing up for a proprietary account doesn’t seem more or less beneficial than linking to a social network, as users are able to link numerous profiles to their account regardless of how they signed up. Once an account is created, users can opt for brief overview of the app, or jump right into the sea of pictures.
Users who like finding and sharing all types of photographs will find no shortage of content in 500px. Fortunately, sorting through the vast lineup of pictures is a rather simple task. Users are given a variety of sorting options, such as looking through popular images, editors’ choice, and recently added photos, among others. Users also have the options to search by certain categories. While options such as “animal” and “nature” are expected, there are some sorting options that are broader, such as “Black and White.” The lineup of photos currently available will be far more than most users will ever need, but this variety means that performing a keyword search, even for an obscure keyword, is bound to produce results. (more…)
Frame My Photo is a new iOS app from Unity Apps. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store with no additional in-app purchases — though the app description suggests it will only be free for a limited period.
As the title suggests, Frame My Photo is a simple app designed to allow users to quickly and easily add a picture frame effect to photographs from their device’s camera, photo library or their Facebook photo albums. The resulting framed images can then be shared via Facebook, Twitter and email or saved to the device’s camera roll.
Using the app is a simple matter of choosing the image source (camera, Facebook or photo library) and then picking or taking the photograph. This process is occasionally interrupted by pop-up advertising alerts offering free games and the like, but not so often as to be too obtrusive. Importing a photo from the camera or photo library is very straightforward — the photo library option also allows photos to be pulled from iCloud Photo Stream if available — but the Facebook option appears to be broken at present. Tapping on the Facebook option opens the Facebook app (if installed) and then should open the app’s permissions page and allow the user to install it to their social network account — however, when tested, this option steadfastly refused to work, instead giving a non-specific error message (“An error occurred. Please try again later.”) and simply returning to the social network’s News Feed when cancelled. It’s not clear if this is an issue with Facebook or the app itself, but the problem persisted regardless of whether the device was connected to Wi-Fi or cellular data, and happened repeatedly.
Phoster is an iOS app from Bucket Labs. It’s currently a free download from the App Store at the time of writing due to its feature spot as Apple’s App of the Week — its normal price is $1.99.
Phoster’s stated aim is to allow its users to create their own posters using a combination of templates, images and text. These posters may then be shared to a variety of social networks or printed out. The app comes pre-loaded with a wide variety of different templates for users to use, many of which use recognizably modern, attractive styles, and each is customizable.
To create a poster, users must first pick a template from the available options. Templates are divided into categories according to the shape of the poster — square, portrait or landscape — and may also be marked as favorites if the user finds a particularly appealing design they would like to reuse. All templates come with placeholder text and space for an image — either in the background of the whole poster or in a dedicated area, depending on the design — which can then be manipulated in various ways.
Japanese mobile-social gaming juggernaut GREE recently laid off around 30 employees from its San Francisco office, according to GameIndustry International.
“We have recently aligned GREE’s U.S. studio to focus on creating the next generation of mobile social games,” said Anil Dharni, chief operating officer of GREE, in an official statement. “This shift in focus has been clearly demonstrated by the success and growth of our games. As part of ensuring that we are operating as efficiently as possible, we have made the difficult decision to reduce our work force. The employees leaving today have made great contributions to our success and we wish them all the best.”
In December 2012, GREE restructured its company, letting go 25 people, mostly from GREE’s social networking platform OpenFeint team. GREE announced the closing of OpenFeint a month prior to the layoffs. GREE acquired OpenFeint in April 2011 for $104 million as part of the Japanese company’s efforts to expand into Western markets.
Stay tuned to Inside Mobile Apps for GREE’s Q3 2013 earnings tomorrow.
Postale is an iOS app from 7twenty7 LLC. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store, and carries additional in-app purchases.
Postale’s remit is simple: it allows users to create virtual postcards, then send them to people via Facebook, Twitter or email. Postcards may have one of four different layouts — a portraitwise image with text to the right; a landscape image with text to the right; a vertical layout with a photo at the top and text at the bottom; and a “panoramic” layout featuring a letterboxed image with text above and below.
The first time the user fires up Postale, they are walked through the rather simple process of creating a postcard a step at a time. The tutorial is relatively unobtrusive, but it’s questionable if it’s even necessary, since the app is extremely easy and intuitive to use.
Creating a postcard consists of several steps: choosing a layout, choosing a visual theme from those available — additional packs are available via in-app purchase for $0.99 each — and then customizing the layout with a photo, title and message. Photos can either be taken with the camera or imported from the camera roll, and the app makes use of Aviary’s SDK to allow for fine-tuning and adjustment of the photograph in various ways. Titles and messages can be entered independently, and each may have their own style set by changing the color, size and font of the text. There are a fairly wide selection of commonly-used fonts available in the app, though the widely-despised Comic Sans is nowhere to be seen.
AppySnap is a new mobile app-cum-social game for iOS devices, developed by Chiwawa Ltd. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store and carries in-app purchases, all of which remove ads when acquired.
This actually isn’t the first time AppySnap has appeared on the App Store — it first came out back in 2011 as a “photo scavenger hunt” app that challenged players to complete various missions and earn virtual rewards. After a hiatus the team revamped the app completely and the service is back with a new look but the same photo-centric “gameplay” of its predecessor.
Essentially, AppySnap is an asynchronous social game in which players challenge one another to complete specific missions. Users may challenge any of their friends via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or connections they have made on Appysnap itself, but there is presently no apparent means of challenging a random stranger. This is presumably in an attempt to help prevent abuse of the system, but it would have been nice to have the option, particularly if you are the only person in your circle of friends using the app — there’s no means of actually starting a “game” until one of your friends from the other networks has actually registered for the service and started “playing.”
Tracks is a new iOS app from Tracks Media, Inc. The app has been around for a while, but has recently released a major update to version 2.5, which has also caused it to show up on the App Store front page as a featured item. The app itself is a free download, and does not carry additional in-app purchases.
Tracks is a social photography app designed to allow users to discover and share visual content on a variety of different themes. These “tracks” can be followed, allowing users to easily stay up to date on the latest posts on favorite subjects, and perhaps collaborate with other users on what is effectively a large communal photo album.
Tracks’ main screen allows users to browse through a variety of different available Tracks. If the user has connected their account to Facebook, several Tracks are automatically created according to their relationship status — if they are in a relationship, a Track is created depicting them and their partner, and another track is also created depicting images in which they appear with their friends. Aside from this, the user may browse Tracks from their friends on the service, a “Just for You” Track based on other content they may have followed, along with Trending and Recent feeds. Users may also discover tracks according to their location and broad topic areas, or search for specific content.
Gifstory is a new iOS app from Ultralab Apps. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store, with no additional in-app purchases.
Animated GIFs, the 256-color silent alternative to genuine video capture, have seen something of a resurgence in popularity in recent years, particularly as social media enthusiasts have embraced services with a self-consciously “retro” aesthetic such as Instagram and its numerous imitators. The inherent technical limitations of GIF files give them a gritty rawness that the high-quality video shot by modern smartphones just doesn’t match — plus the fact that they’re just an image file means that they can be displayed on pretty much any device capable of displaying Web pages; there’s no messing around with codecs or ensuring compatibility with different operating systems — a GIF is a GIF, whatever it’s being viewed on.
The fact that GIFs are once again growing in popularity among the social photo and video sharing community means that there has also been a glut of GIF-making apps in recent months. The latest of these is Gifstory from Ultralab Apps, who was last seen with the “weather forecast meets Instagram” app Ultraweather.
Yesterday, during Zynga’s Q1 2013 earning call, CEP Mark Pincus announced the launch of Draw Something 2. The game is available to download for free exclusively on the Apple App Store. An Android version is coming soon.
The first Draw Something was a simple draw-and-guess game where players compete against each other to create pictures based on stimulus words. The game won the award for Best Social Network Game at last night’s Game Developer’s Choice Online Awards ceremony. It was the first time Zynga managed to take home a GDC Online Award, even though its games have been nominated for the past two years.
Draw Something 2 introduces a live feed where players can share, ‘like’ or comment on drawings, and follow friends, artists and celebrities. It also adds a collection of new drawing tools like new patterns, textures and colors.
Moodoo is a new iOS app from Urban Design. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store, though the store description suggests that it will become a paid app before long.
Moodoo is a “mood diary” app that allows users to record the way they are feeling at any given moment, along with the time, date, weather conditions, temperature and moon phase. There are eight different moods that can be chosen — love, happy, hopeful, bored, unhappy, scared, anxious and worried, upset and angry, or depressed. Each mood has an appropriate color code assigned to it — depressed is black, for example, while angry is red and in love is pink.
Once the user has selected a mood for themselves, they can record it in their diary with a simple tap of the “add” button. It can then optionally be shared on Facebook and/or Twitter if desired, and it is also recorded anonymously on Moodoo’s servers, with the user’s location information attached. The user may then not change their mood until at least five minutes has elapsed.