iPhone App Finds the Apps Your Friends Likeby Jennifer Van Grove, feeds.mashable.com
March 31st 2011
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Quick Pitch: Frenzapp is a free app that allows users to automatically discover and easily share the best apps with their friends.
Genius Idea: App Store app crawler that checks twice daily for price changes, updates and new apps.
In November, Singapore-based mobile app shop Bitsmedia released Frenzapp to help iPhone users better navigate the hundreds of thousands of applications available in the App Store.
The idea, far from original with the likes of Chomp competing in the same arena, was meant to provide a practical solution for discovering and sharing applications with friends.
“It’s a natural for people to pull out their iPhones and share apps when they meet face-to-face,” says creator Erwan Macé. “We tried to reproduce these behaviors.”
Despite receiving positive reviews after launch, the first version of Frenzapp fell flat with users — but not for lack of originality. The application was the first in its genre to automatically detect the applications on a user’s phone, and the first to connect to Facebook to show the user the applications his Facebook friends’ like.
Still, “the adoption rate was pretty low; the usage rate was even lower,” admits Macé.
Macé and the rest of the four-person team found that the on-boarding process was far too complex, that users experienced a sense of loneliness if their Facebook friends were not using it and that there was very little incentive for the user to return.
Thursday evening, the Bitsmedia team is trying again with several significant additions in version 2.0 of the Frenzapp application.
To solve the loneliness problem, Frenzapp has introduced a much improved friend finder with Twitter, Apple Game Center and native address book integration. Users can also now discover and follow new people using Frenzapp, including popular and nearby users of the service, who may not be in their pre-existing social media circle.
One new feature that might encourage more repeat usage is the enhanced push notification system that users can configure to receive notifications when their favorite applications release updates. Bitsmedia has developed an application crawler capable of indexing the entire App Store two times per day. The crawler checks for price changes, version updates and new applications, which means that this information is also accessible to users in the form of push notifications.
Frenzapp has also dumped the three-step user on-boarding process and instead drops application users instantly into the app experience.
Perhaps best of all, Frenzapp version 2.0 comes with nine options for discovering new applications. The “Find Apps” tab includes buckets such as Trending, Popular, Now on Sale and Most Recent to provide users with a plethora of choices for browsing apps.
Macé has high hopes that this release will finally help Frenzapp attract a sizable user base. Should the release prove successful, bootstrapped but profitable Bitsmedia’s focus will shift from building applications commissioned by clients to raising venture capital and making Frenzapp its priority.
The application makers get a 4 to 5% cut of all the App Store application sales it helps to generate — if it crosses a certain threshold of users, Frenzapp will finance itself.
Up next: Version 3.0 of the application. It’s already in the works, says Macé. The plan is to extend the application discovery experience to music. “Music is even more emotional than apps,” he says, “and technology-wise we can use 99% of what we’ve already built.”
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