Bump Shares Its Phone Tapping, Data Swapping Technology With A New API

It’s a problem that’s as frustrating as it is ridiculous: many of us are now walking around with incredibly powerful mobile phones capable of rendering 3D graphics and multitasking. Yet transferring small bits of data between two nearby phones is still often a total pain. Bump Technologies is a startup that’s trying to fix this problem: the company has launched very popular applications for both iPhone and Android that let you exchange data between phones simply by lightly tapping them together (those applications have been downloaded over 7 million times). And today, Bump is releasing a new API and SDK that will allow third party developers to leverage Bump’s data transfer platform.

In an open letter to developers, Bump says that the API will allow developers to integrate the platform’s matching technology in only 10 lines of code. And while Bump uses their technology primarily for contact and media exchange (with more in the works), the platform can be used in many other ways. From the letter:

So, what can you do with the Bump API? Just about anything. The Bump API uses our Bump matching technology to identify another mobile phone and then creates a messaging channel between the two handsets. Your users will be able to establish connections, exchange data, authenticate interactions…all with the same speed and simplicity that millions of people enjoy with the Bump app today.

The API isn’t open to everyone just yet — you’ll have to request an invite here. Bump will initially accept a small batch of devs (around 20) with the best ideas, and will also hold a small contest to encourage development. The top ten applications will be featured on the Bump website, and the top three will get cash prizes up to $2,500. You can boost your chances by building an app from Bump’s wish list of things they’d like to see built, which includes social games, dating apps, and picture sharing. Bump will soon open up the API to everyone, which will be available for free to most developers (though it sounds like more popular applications will need to sign up for a paid license).

Bump is funded by Y Combinator and Sequoia Capital. Also worth noting: the company recently switched its homepage from BumpTechnologies.com to Bu.mp (the old one still works).