Starmatic

Can Starmatic And Glopho Bring Anything New To The Photo Apps Table?

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According to some estimates (such as from XyoLogic) around 0.1% of iOS apps get 50% of the the downloads on the app store (there are 650,000+ iOS apps), with as much as 60% of iOS apps never downloaded, and only about 30-50% of apps on Android getting any traction at all. With that in mind you can understand how desperate some app-based startups are.

So it’s a mystery to me that people are producing some apps that offer little in the way of new innovation to even mark them out from the crowd. Into this area comes two new iPhone camera apps which we are going to take a brief look at: Starmatic [iTunes link], a cute Instagram-like community app and Glopho [iTunes link], a news-gathering app. Can they step up to the plate?

Starmatic, is a new toy-camera app by a Paris-based bootstrapped startup that is along the lines of Instagram, EyeEm and Tadaa. Like those apps it offers filters and a community of users.

Modelled on the Kodak Brownie Starmatic camera (made during the late 1950s) which of course no-one actually remembers unless they are a historian, it’s live today on the app store.

It’s a fun to use app and works well. Users of Instagram will be in familiar territory here. It has 16 filters, and a nice interface. The filters are grouped as “rolls of film”, whatever that is. Unwisely they have 8 filters which have to be purchased in-app. So 2010.

Co-founders Arnaud de Lummen and Jean-Philippe Evrot have a fashion background and want people to take arty pictures with the app, not just of food. Of course, they can’t prevent that, and people will use it for whatever they want, including taking shots of their genitals. Just watch guys.

Our second app is Glopho. This came out recently on iPhone and Android. This is billed as an app for budding news photographers where you can upload breaking news photos in “Reality”, “Locality” and “Celebrity” (though why Sport is not there I am not sure).

In the UK Glopho has secured a £150,000 SEIS structured funding round which was corner-stoned by a £100,000 investment by a syndicate of four angels from London Business Angels. Simon Walker, Glopho CEO, says they have put in “2 years of development” into the app.

Unfortunately, Glopho has none of the excellent design of EyeEm or Tadaa or even the newer Starmatic, and crashed a few times while I tried it out. Community features looks like they were designed in another era, and the interface often just doesn’t work.

Unfortunately photo sites built on citizen journalism have a chequered history and few got anywhere. It’s worth noting that Demotix has a much simpler app which just allows uploads – they are not bothered about ‘community’. Anyway, you might even get paid.

Both Glopho and Starmatic launch into an incredibly crowded market and offer very little in the way of anything new.

And yet these camera apps still keep coming out. A Year ago Eeeve came out, which has since become Popset – they were very location based for events. But You don’t see a lot of Popset photos appearing on your Facebook feed…

There remains some interesting problems to be solved by camera apps around events and location – EyeEm’s structured data approach is one of the few solutions I’ve seen which works. But there are few startups out there doing very inspiring things.

Let’s all try a little harder shall we?