With the forthcoming arrival of iOS 10, iMessage is lastly getting a a lot-wanted revamp that may see it incorporating third-party apps, in addition to more engaging and interactive features like message bubbles, animations, handwriting, tapbacks, invisible ink, and extra. However until your mates are additionally on iOS 10, you gained’t be capable of use these additions in your group chats. Nevertheless, a new messaging app referred to as Amity is launching now to convey an analogous – maybe even upgraded – expertise, however one which works throughout platforms.
Based mostly in Brisbane, Australia, Amity’s bootstrapped group of eight has been working to create this extra interactive messaging app over the course of the previous two years.
As with many messaging shoppers, Amity gives the power to ship wealthy media in your chats – that's, issues like pictures (with filters, naturally), movies, hyperlinks, voice messages, emojis, stickers, your location and extra. However in Amity, you’re in a position so as to add these things by tapping buttons within the app itself – you don’t have to modify to a different screen or app.
Plus, Amity provides its personal collections of custom, unique stickers to select from, eliminating the necessity for add-on keyboards.
The app can even monitor of the media you’ve shared in your conversations. A “Reminiscences” part, for instance, archives all of the photographs, movies, hyperlinks, news articles, YouTube movies, and “postcards” (a feature that includes sharing a location together with crowdsourced photographs and different info pulled from Foursquare) in a single place you'll be able to revisit anytime.
However what makes Amity actually enjoyable are its interactive features. When chatting with the founder by phone this morning, I in all probability spent half the interview simply tapping buttons within the chat app to check out all of the totally different choices, I've to confess.
As an example, you can “high 5” a good friend, which makes an animated version of this gesture seem in your chat, or you'll be able to “nudge” them, which truly makes the entire screen seem to shake whereas your phone buzzes.
Amity allows you to ask your mates to ship you media, too – you possibly can request for a photo, video or location, with simply the press of a button. A timer begins, encouraging the good friend to press one other button that seems (e.g. “Ship Location”) to answer your request.
As well as, Amity introduces a feature it calls “Reside Mode” which prompts every time two or extra individuals be a part of a chat collectively on the identical screen.
On this mode, you'll be able to ship stay emojis, stay touch gestures, and emoji bursts.
You decide from a number of emojis (e.g. a smiley, hearts, coronary heart eyes, and so forth.) and then drag the emoji onto the screen the place dozens “explode” in a burst-like style.
One other expertise (see under) is akin to the little “hearts” you ship a broadcaster on Periscope or the Likes you ship when viewing a Fb Stay video – the one distinction is that it’s in chat, not on social media.
Amity was co-based by Johnny Cheng (CEO), who beforehand based a mobile gaming firm with 3 million customers; Nick Pestov (CTO), the previous head of engineering for an e-commerce firm; Kieran Harper, a programmer who labored in authorities; and Jackson Cheng, Johnny’s brother and a designer.
Although solely the 1.0 launch, Amity comes throughout as a reasonably polished app. (Sadly it’s crashing on the iOS 10 developer construct, however a current replace has made a number of of my apps unstable; the staff says they haven’t seen this drawback on different builds.)
Being instantly partaking and usable is by design, we’re advised.
“We got down to come out on day one with one thing that’s full and extra compelling than something on the market as a place to begin – that was actually essential to us,” says Johnny.
In fact, it’s difficult to get anybody to undertake a new messaging app lately in a world the place apps like Messenger, WhatsApp, Snapchat, and others dominate, and the place many are wonderful with utilizing simply primary SMS testing or iMessage. Amity’s bells and whistles are unimaginable and enjoyable, however finally, I discovered myself wishing they have been simply Fb Messenger’s new features.
To not point out, with the upgrade to iOS 10, Amity could have heavy competitors from iMessage.
“That was a shock to us,” admits Johnny, when requested concerning the upgraded Apple messaging app. In any case, Amity had begun its work even earlier than WhatsApp bought to Fb – it was ready to supply one thing recent and new, however now should show itself towards Apple’s constructed-in messenger.
The corporate hopes its product is fascinating sufficient to thrive even on this aggressive panorama. To assist encourage progress, it has added a ton of method for customers so as to add buddies. You'll be able to add them by mobile quantity, invite them out of your contacts, add them by username, add them from Twitter, and even add associates who're close by (as detected by way of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth).
Amity is now getting ready to boost a seed spherical. Its first investor is Mick Johnson, Fb’s former Director of Product for Cellular, who provided Amity a 5-determine funding.