There’s something about Instagram that you can’t quite put your fingers on. It’s just a fantastic, sticky, launch-a-few-times-a-day kind of app. There’s really nothing you can point to that makes it any better than the bazillion other photo sharing apps. In fact, it even under-whelms features-wise. But, but … there’s just something about it. Something in-between the pixels that makes it resonate with users.
And that’s exactly what Mobli has, too.
While we already reviewed the app back in April, it was only a couple of weeks ago that I got around to check out the app for myself.
Its iTunes App Store description reads:
“Have you ever wanted to see what’s going on somewhere you couldn’t be? Have you ever wanted to show your friends what you’re seeing?”
Already I’m rolling my eyes, trying to hold down the rush of vomit determined to spew out.
I install the sucker, do the Facebook Connect bit, and … no vomit. I actually hear myself mumble, “hmmm”.
I play with the app and try as I may, there’s just no special feature I can point to, nor breakthrough UX I can speak of. And yet, and yet … as cynical as I want to be, there’s just something in-between the pixels of Mobli that feels terribly right.
I can go through the motions and describe how Mobli offers three types of channels for people, places and one for topics/events. That the channels create an implicit social graph around say, fashion, or a bar. That users can comment-back with photos, videos and text. That interaction occurs both on the iPhone app and on Mobli.com. I can go through all these features, and still not be able to capture that special something in-between the pixels.
Intrigued, I ask to meet Boaz Hecht, the company’s VP Marketing. Done with my in-between the pixels spiel, he just smiles back and says, “Let me show you something.” He fires-up Google Analytics and shows me a figure that blew me away.
Mobli users have been spending 33 minutes on average, per day, using the app. Thirty-three minutes. Kid you not. And this is while the app is only on iOS (in the coming weeks Mobli will push out cross-platform video and photo sharing across Blackberry, Android and iOS).
I’m of the opinion that the odds are quite slim for photo/video-sharing apps to be formative companies with viable business models. I love Instagram, but don’t see it more than a bright-shiny object that I’ll toss-out for a newer photo-sharing app that will get it right(er).
That said, I’m going to keep Instagram on my main iPhone pane. Path will remain there too. Having read this post, you might be surprised that Mobli will not. With all of its undeniable “right stuff”, the app feels more attuned to a younger demographic than my own 35 summers.
Mark my words though … Mobli. Will. Blow. Out.