Dear All Photo Apps: Mobli Just Won Filters

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In my previous post about Mobli, I claimed it would be the break-out photo sharing app of the year. I went to say that like Instagram, it has something special in between the pixels. I backed that up with a starting figure — users were spending an average of 33 minutes on the site. (The latest stat the company shared with me is that on average, there are 3.4 pictures added per user per day.)

Stats aside, today Mobli is kicking it up in a major, major way by introducing a new breed of photo filters that not only put every other photo app’s on the defense, they set a new bar for user convenience and possibilities for brands. Let’s dive in:

Server-side Filter Effects:

Maybe it’s the geek in me, but I’ve found it surprising to learn that most people around me didn’t realize that applying and switching back-and-forth between filter effects within photo apps is a major battery guzzler. Well, it is folks. See, applying filter effects puts a computational strain on any CPU and/or graphics chipset, which means of course, sucking more power to make that happen.

What Mobli is doing is pushing the computational heavy lifting server-side. This has two major benefits: First, it means less power-guzzling on smartphones’ already lacking battery packs. Second, it means that adding additional filters no longer requires an act of download of any sort on behalf of the user. New would filters just ‘appear’ in the app.

The new version of Mobli features 22 free filters.

Location Filters:

What’s really exciting about pushing the filters server-side is that doing so kicks the doors wide-open to brand-new filter possibilities. Examples? Think filters that are geo-based, venue-based, time-based, etc. Let’s look at a couple examples:

Say you’re at a conference, where folks regularly take photos of the stage, the exhibition floor and other attendees. With Mobli’s location filters, the app would recognize that users are at Disrupt, for example, and bango, there would be a ‘Disrupt’ filter. See the screenshot below to see how that would like.

Now say you’re at the Camp Nou to watch FC Barcelona annihilate Real Madrid (again)… Barça could work out a deal with Mobli for filters that would frame photos taken in the stadium in club colors, or stamp them with images of team players like Messi, or newly signed Cesc Fàbregas.

Clearly brands could have a field day with the possibilities presented with Mobli’s location-based filters.

Of the 22 filters, 7 are location-based, including: TechCrunch Disrupt, Silicon Valley, Vegas, NYC, LA, Omaha, and Canada. A few examples are at the bottom of the post.

In other Mobli news, with the new version being released today the company is also leveling the cross-platform playing-field. Brand new Android and Blackberry versions are now available, and are identical in terms of functionality to their iPhone app predecessor.

For the developers in the crowd, Mobli has also been working on an API. It’s still behind lock and key, but you can apply for access, here.

To all the other photo sharing apps: Your move.