Chapel Hill, NC-based Splitmo is a brand new company looking to build a business on an emerging trend: dual screen content consumption. The startup debuted its first app today, Air Show, a universal app for iPad and iPhone that gives users greater control over their photo slideshows as broadcast wirelessly using Apple’s AirPlay or via a tethered HDMI connection.
But wait, doesn’t Apple build that right into iOS? It is true that Apple allows playback of on-device photo libraries to AirPlay-capable devices like the Apple TV, and gives you some control over how that will look. But Air Show is designed to take better advantage of what the iPhone and iPad can provide for the presenter, letting them preview, choose and even make changes to upcoming images before they’re displayed on the big screen.
“Once you view pictures on a big screen TV, it is hard to view them elsewhere,” explained Splitmo founder Rob Witman in an interview. “That being said, the current options for doing so are very poor. That includes the native Photos app, as it isn’t designed to take advantage of two unique screens. We recognized that if we designed something from scratch with that goal in mind, it would be a great way to both showcase the benefits of having two unique screens and at the same time produce something that was useful and currently missing.”
The editing and captioning aspect is what really makes Air Show different than other comparable offerings, and Witman says that actually came about as a later feature addition following initial user testing. The team noticed that many of its testers wanted to make small adjustments to images after the fact as they were already in slide show mode, things they neglected to spot when working on photos in Lightbox or editor software.
Photos are a first step, and one that Splitmo is hoping to make money on using a freemium model where users get a full basic product for free with the ability to save up to three shows at once, but are charged $5 for unlimited shows. On the horizon, however, the company sees much more opportunity beyond slide shows ahead for dual screen technology, hence its broader overall focus.
“Mobile devices have fantastic input capabilities and lots of power, but even tablets have minimal screen real estate,” Witman said, discussing the potential he sees for the broader market. “When you get in a group, this really becomes a limiting factor. Considering how our devices talk to shoes, security systems and other random gadgets, it only makes sense that they should be intricately connected to the largest possible display device, the home television.”
Once that happens, Witman believes we’ll see the consumer opportunities open up plenty of doorways to new applications in the education and business markets. But while it’s true that consumer tech trends have a way of making their way back to enterprise and institutional users, dual screen viewing has yet to experience its Dropbox moment of user adoption.
Bootstrapped Splitmo is hoping to find the right mix to help it achieve that, with a plan to try a variety of different approaches to split screen experiences. The company is also realizing that this will require more funding, and is looking to close a seed round before the holidays to help with that. While Air Show may not be the app to break down the floodgate to wider dual screen tech adoption by consumers, it at least shows an effort to tackle the problem from a different perspective.