Frintr is a new iOS app that turns any image on your iPhone or iPad into a mosaic made up of images of all your friends on Twitter or Facebook. And, what’s more, the idea was born right here in Bath.
The idea originally started out as a website, which was the brainchild of developer Tom Buckley-Houston. On Tom’s site you log into your Facebook or Twitter account and the service will then create you a so-called ‘Frint’ mosaic from your friends profile pictures.
You can then buy the resulting ‘Frint’ as a digital download for $1, while for Twitter Frints you can also choose to create a Frint from a random user or even a Twitter search. (You can check out our attempt at a Frint here.)
The iPhone, iPod touch and iPad app works in much the same way, but has a single up-front cost.
App developer Neil Stanley met Tom during Bathcamp 21 at the Innovation Centre in Bath last April and the pair both presented on “The top 10 things I learned in startups”
Neil takes up the story. “When Tom and I met he had already built a fantastic website. Having put heart and soul into the site Tom was humble enough to admit that net it had lost money.
“Having developed Apps for a number of years I felt the functionality was better suited to a smartphone because of the built in camera.
“I also thought that the business model of selling apps rather than physical printed Frints was likely to be a better one. So I proposed we worked together on an app with me designing the app and Tom building the API to the Frintification magic!”
Neil describes the development as “relatively uneventful” but adds that it still took around four months to do.
So has the app been a success? “I knew from experience that just putting a paid app in the App Store on its own is almost certain to sink without trace,” continues Neil. “However if you have an established user base and a website to promote [the app] it can lead to commercial success.
“This has been true to an extent but not as much as we would have liked. So we are now working on a freemium version of the App which will allow it to be downloaded for free and tested with most of the features accessible through In-App purchasing. This is a strategy that has worked well for another of my Apps, iHi.”
And Neil also has advice for anybody else in the Bath area that has a great idea for an app. “I wish I had a pound for every time someone has said to me ‘I’ve got a good idea for an App’. Well if you do, go to one of the Bathcamp sessions at the Bath Innovation Centre. There you will meet people like us who have done it before and will freely share our experience with you.”