SmugMug’s Camera Awesome is an App Store success story, with more than 7 million users on board since its debut on Apple’s mobile software marketplace earlier this year in February. Now, SmugMug is hoping that success can extend to the iPad, with a new, universal version of its app that brings a lot of photographer-focused feature to Apple’s big-screen iOS device.
“Six months ago when we shipped Camera Awesome, I hadn’t thought that we would work on an iPad version at all, because I thought that iPads were terrible, awkward devices to take photos on,” SmugMug CEO Don McAskill said in an interview. “But we have over 7 million Camera Awesome users, and they, in overwhelming numbers, asked us for an iPad version, and as a company that’s been fueled by customer feedback its entire life, we thought that we should at least take a look.”
The tipping point for McAskill, came when he went to a baseball game and saw the sheer number of people who were using iPads, not iPhones, Android phones or point-and-shoot cameras, to take pictures of the action. Hence the decision to make Camera Awesome for iPad first and foremost an update focused on taking pictures. That’s also what sets it apart from Camera+’s iPad app, released last week, according to McAskill. Unlike Camera+, Camera Awesome can launch right into photo-taking mode, and the app’s interface is designed around giving photo and movie-shooters all the advantages the extra screen real estate provides.
But maybe the best thing about Camera Awesome for iPad is that it’s a universal update. That means that you not only get the iPad version for free, but all of the optional filter and upgrade purchases you made in-app also carry over.
McAskill says that future platform expansion plans are also in the works, including the much-requested Android version, but that the platform’s fragmentation issue is proving a considerable barrier. He’s also looking at Windows 8, both for phone and tablets, but will take a wait-and-see approach before venturing on to Microsoft devices. Camera Awesome for iPhone and iPad is free, with in-app purchases ranging in price from $0.99 for individual filters to $9.99 to unlock everything.
SmugMug is not your typical Web 2.0 photo sharing site. It’s not free, there are no ads, the company is self funded, and has been profitable for over three years. SmugMug is geared more towards professional photographers with features such as watermarking, selling downloads and prints, and creating galleries of photos. Users can even use their own domain names for these galleries. SmugMug still has the more typical Web 2.0 photo sharing features like RSS feeds, tags, and a...