Zintin’s first days on the iPhone app store

July 13th, 2008 by john

Things are pretty exciting right now. We are getting thousands of users every day and some great feedback. Users have shared tens of thousands of photos in the last couple of days, and hundreds of people have exchanged contact info with each other to meet up.

A lot of our users are eager to get the updated version of zintin, which should be released by Apple very soon (we submitted it to them before the App Store launched). For now, users are getting by via screenshots of iPhone notes. Open the notes application, write something, then press the power and menu buttons at the same time. Then post the photo to someone’s wall in zintin.

Launch day

July 11th, 2008 by john

We spent this morning promoting zintin at Apple Stores. The lines were pretty huge, and at several stores there were news teams covering the whole iPhone 3g launch.

We talked to people at roughly 13 stores and feedback was quite positive. Users are rolling in fairly quickly now.

FYI – There are more features on their way to zintin users that will allow for much more interaction between people. We are just waiting on Apple now.

Zintin on the iPhone so far

July 10th, 2008 by john

We already have a couple hundred users even though the new iPhone OS is not in everyone’s hands. People are using zintin, updating their status and sharing pictures. It looks like we are getting a great reception so far.
I can’t wait until we get more people on the service, but for now you can join the discussion on the forum.

Zintin is now on the iPhone App Store

July 10th, 2008 by john

The iPhone App Store appears to have gone live as of a couple hours ago, at least for developers. Everyone should be able to see it soon. Here’s a quick look from our perspective.

There are 500 apps on the store right now. Over 200 are in the entertainment category, many of them are games. Social networking is one of the largest categories with 30 apps. There are some expected names, but zintin is the only app that allows you to discover the people around you and see when your friends are nearby. We also may be one of the few social apps that doesn’t require you to sign your friends up to be useful.

We’ll keep the news coming, but check out the iPhone App Store now!

The coming iPhone apps

July 8th, 2008 by john

The new 3g version of the iPhone will be out this Friday. Most people are also expecting that the iPhone App Store will be out the same day. With the launch date approaching, some app developers are slowly letting out details of their apps, and we wanted to give you a heads up about one that you may not have heard of yet.

I’m particularly excited about an app called iDineAtNine that’ll provide a great way to find restaurant reviews. The new iPhone app, iDineAtNine, will provide a great way to find new restaurants, bars, clubs, you name it. Its a solid app that will help explore new places, and find out what you didn’t know about your own home town. Whenever I look for a meal I drive from one end of the main street in town to the other, but most of the restaurants are just a block or two off the main road, meaning I’m seeing only a small slice. Now iDineAtNine will solve that problem.

Traditional methods to find restaurants, bars, and the like fail for a couple of reasons. On Google maps for example, you cant sort by the rating, meaning you’ll find restaurants in the area, but they may not be any good. Its also impossible to get any service that isn’t on your phone to find where you are without having to tell it. IDineAtNine can help you out there; why enter your location when iDineAtNine can already tell you?

If you eat food, you should check out iDineAtNine.

Ready for launch!

July 2nd, 2008 by harry

We are pleased to announce that our first release version of zintin has been accepted onto the iPhone App Store! We just received Apple’s stamp of approval for our app, so we will be live as soon as the App Store comes online in a few days time.

We’ve all been coding hard for the last few days and nights (sleep, what’s that?), so we are proud to have met this key deadline. Now we can’t wait for users to get their hands on zintin!

Great iPhone Applications

June 9th, 2008 by john

Now that the details of the new iPhone are out, the next pieces of news around the iPhone will be regarding the App Store. Several companies have apps confirmed to be coming out, and Zintin will be one of the applications on the iPhone’s App Store this summer but there are as many as hundreds of thousands of people building apps right now. What can we expect in the future, and what is going to be big?

In the last post we mentioned that we spoke with a partner managing the iFund at Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers (KPCB). They believe that iPhone apps will be huge, in fact, the opportunity is “on par with or greater than the PC internet.” Chi-Hua Chien, the KPCB partner we spoke with, also said that the number of applications that iFund has received from companies is in the thousands. We would like to share a bit about his thoughts on what apps will be popular.

We were also fortunate enough to see Mike Mace of Mobile Opportunity discuss his recent iPhone user survey. His experience working for Palm and Apple for many years was a great help in digesting the data, and he made some interesting points about iPhone apps.

The iPhone user survey indicates, as expected, that people with iPhones are early adopters, they own a lot of technology products, and they are young. It looks like a majority of iPhone users will be looking to install apps on their iPhones.

Mike Mace and Kleiner’s Chi-Hua Chien agree that good iPhone applications will take advantage of the fact that the phone is very personal, and it is always with you. A while back KPCB put some money in mobile software that uses a user’s location to provide information about nearby restaurants and such. Many companies will be trying to leverage location data to provide personalized services like this. The question is, how much do apps need to build on top of that basic location data. When we spoke with Chi-Hua, he said that a good app must at least have a sense of their environment, but that isn’t enough. He seemed to indicate, and we agree, that the obvious apps are not great ways to build companies (e.g. there will be hordes of products competing to show users nearby restaurants, and that is not a full-featured app).

One of Mike Mace’s points about big applications was something like “the killer app is diversity” meaning that few apps will be both customized enough to be interesting and still useful to everyone. Several examples of customized apps he mentioned were specific to a certain profession (e.g. an app which helps a health professional calculate a person’s vital stats in the back of an ambulance). We think a better manifestation of a customized app would be one that lets the user do the customizing, such that the app works differently for different people.

The zintin iPhone app fits the bill on both counts. Zintin leverages proximity to other users as opposed to location, but goes further to let you interact with these people. Users can broadcast media (i.e. picture) profiles to the people around them, as well as view and add to other people’s profiles. Because the content is user generated, the app will be different things to different people. For example, we have discussed helping bands promote themselves through broadcasting media. When the beta launches (sign-up here) the app will focus on media sharing, but as we get more feedback from our users, and continue to finish current projects, we hope to make new types of interactions available, so be ready to update zintin to get new features.

We are excited to see what other developers have been cooking up, and we are very excited to share what we have been working on. If you have an iPhone, make sure you sign up for the beta of our iPhone app.

Interview about iPhone and Android

June 6th, 2008 by john

We recently did an interview with Steve O’Hear from last100.com. Steve is based in the UK, but has an interest in Silicon Valley. His interview with us is now up, so go check it out.

The future of the iPhone

June 5th, 2008 by john

The iPhone has defied the common power structure that puts carriers on top, brought in $2 billion in extra cash for ATT, offered the first real web experience on a phone, and finally showed us all what a phone can do. Despite all this, it is not at the top of the list for smartphone sales, and there are signs that it has had little success outside of traditional early adopters and mac fans (more about this in an upcoming post).

We recently spoke with Chi-Hua Chien, a partner at KPCB (Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers), managing the iFund (a $100 million venture fund for businesses making iPhone apps) and we would like to share his thoughts, and ours, about the future of the iPhone.

First, some numbers. In 2007, Apple sold 4 million iPhones and aims to sell 10 million in 2008. Apple is projecting it will sell 45 million iPhones in 2009. I’ll repeat that for impact: Apple plans to have about 60 million iPhones out in less than two years. KPCB said at an iPhone Developers meetup that by adding the iPod touch to those numbers, they expect 100 million devices by the end of 2009. This sounds ambitious, but KPCB is confident.

We agree that the iPhone has sold well (zintin will be out on the iPhone this summer and it will be a couple of months at least before we appear on other phones). But we think that what is really unique right now is the set of market conditions that created the iPhone. Technology has been advancing at a steady pace, but in the US, most major wireless carriers have stifled innovation through closed business practices. After so many years, we have reached a tipping point; users want cool and useful phones like the iPhone so badly that the carriers stand to make more money by finally giving users what they want than by keeping users locked in to contracts with cheap phones. These market conditions don’t only affect Apple products of course; they have inspired Google to work on an open source mobile OS (Android), and inspired Microsoft and RIM to produce real web browsers for their phones. Many other companies are or will be following suit.

So while the iPhone is certainly the start of an avalanche, its not clear yet that the competition will let it run away with the market. Apple may sell 100 million units (if you include the iPod Touch), but what will be more interesting is how much they sell compared to everyone else (Android phones, Windows mobile phones, Blackberry, etc.)

Google Demo’s Android, HTC Dream

May 28th, 2008 by john

Google just showed a brief demo (good stuff at engadget, techCrunch and androidcommunity) of a prototype phone called the HTC Dream. While the demo is just plain cool, we (zintin) think it also sheds new light on the future of the mobile software space, and the upcoming competition between iPhone, Android and established players.

As far as we can tell, the first phones running Android will be targeted towards people looking for a phone/entertainment device hybrid, and thus the phones will compete most directly with the iPhone. A few days ago at the last Silicon Valley iPhone developers meetup Mike Mace (of MobileOpportunity) shared some insight into the mobile market segmentation with us. One of the points he made clear was that there is a large divide between people who want entertainment from their phones and people who want business features. This seems to be a somewhat common perception among people watching the space. However, we think that the street view demo shown today on Android says something else.

The Google street view app is beautifully integrated with unique characteristics of the mobile device, (eg the compass). This is a great example of the kind of new software that people have been waiting to see on phones. However, its not an entertainment app. And its not a business app either. In fact, its just a plain useful app.

What does this mean then? It means that the market segmentation of mobile devices is changing. No longer will there be a strict divide between business and entertainment devices. New phones that have great new features which are useful to everyone have a chance to make inroads in all segments.

Zintin will be out on the iPhone first, but we are very excited about what we have already been able to do on Android. Both platforms are already breeding grounds for innovation, and when new apps start to hit the market, expect to see some big changes in the mobile market.

Visit zintin.com to sign up for the beta announcement.