Can the latest app from Starbucks become the next Kimoji? Nah, probably not. But the company this week has released its first consumer-facing app that’s solely focused on entertainment, as opposed to its core business of selling food and drink. Yes, that’s right. Starbucks has its own emoji keyboard app now, so you can more easily text friends pictures of Frappuccinos, coffees, teas, and even a purple unicorn enjoying a Starbucks beverage (???), if you choose.
The app was not released under the Starbucks’ name on the Apple App Store or Google Play, but was rather developed in partnership with a third party, Snaps Media.
Snaps Media today works with a range of brands who want to launch their own emojis or keyboard apps, but don’t have the time or inclination to build the apps themselves. Its client list includes a number of media companies like Nickelodeon, BET, VH1, MTV, TCM, as well as sports teams, plus TV shows and films like Hotel Transylvania 2, Portlandia, Deadpool, Workaholics, and Broad City. It also works with a sizable handful of brands, like Dove, Victoria’s Secret, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Sour Patch Kids, and many others.
These apps tend to have niche install bases at best, but Starbucks’ name has a larger reach – after all, the brand is popular enough to have inspired dozens of app developers to use its name in an effort to promote their own creations on the App Store.
A search for “Starbucks” will return dozens of “secret menu” apps, nearest store locators, coupon finders, and more. So why not an emoji keyboard, right?
This is the first time Starbucks has ever introduced an emoji keyboard for mobile, a spokesperson confirmed. Starbucks announced its new app on Monday, with promises that new content would arrive throughout the year.
As far as the keyboard’s quality? Well, early reviewers aren’t impressed, complaining the icons aren’t high-quality, for example. Others are upset about the fact that you have to copy and paste the emoji into messages. Unfortunately, this is just how emoji keyboards tend to work – including the App Store topper, Kimoji.
Like other third-party keyboard applications, the Starbucks Keyboard app works on SMS/iMessage, in email, and in messaging apps like WhatsApp and Messenger, among others.
The release follows an overhaul to Starbucks’ flagship application, which is where the company’s tech resources have truly been directed. The new version of that app introduced the revamped Rewards program, made improvements to mobile ordering, integrated various entertainment offerings, and more.