Next2Friends, a new pivately-backed mobile social network, just came out of a short private beta to launch a ranges of mobile applications – including streaming video – which look like they will take on a number of startups including Seesmic, Qik, Kyte, Loopt and even Twitter. How have they stayed under the radar? By launching very quietly in the UK/Europe first, and over the holidays.
TechCrunch UK has the scoop on the Next2Friends Bluetooth application (a Java app) which allows you to match your profile against another Next2Friends user within range of your Bluetooth enabled phone. So far so familiar. A number of startups (especially in Europe, as I detail here) are trying to crack this nut. However, Next2Friends co-founder and CTO Anthony Nystrom has since passed me more detail of their other applications which are released as of now. Ask-a-Friend will be a twitter-like live ‘rich-media’ private and public polling. The Real-time Live application will turn your mobile into a Qik-like live streaming webcam, with later online video editing available. This will work over WiFi, GPRS and UMTS. Plus, a video messaging app will turn Next2Friends into a Seesmic-like system. All of these apps are wrapped into a social network which is now ready to receive new users. The initial launch will be limited to 250,000 users with a full site launch on 25th March.
The most interesting app is probably going to be their live video one, since this is clearly creating a lot of buzz for Qik and others. It’s the emergence of apps like this that make me think Apple should seriously consider putting a camera on the front of the iPhone as well as on the back.