A lot of attention has been paid to mobile video sharing apps Socialcam and Viddy in their race to high growth of users and engagement, including questions about whether or not their growth has been organic, or a function of Facebook’s revamped sharing settings. Klip, another player in the mobile video sharing space, was founded in 2011 and has thus far secured $10 million in funding. This dark horse in the mobile video space is launching its official Android app today, in an attempt to grow its user base by addressing a market that the company thinks has been largely ignored or given second-class treatment by players in its market.
Klip’s Android launch was prompted by user feedback, since it’s been the top requested feature from Klip users since the app launched. That’s owing to a couple of reasons, according to Klip VP of Marketing Chris Hamilton, including a desire to share video with friends and family no matter what platform they’re using.
“If your brother has Android and you have iPhone, while they can view content on the web, it isn’t the easiest experience to share mobile video with others,” Hamilton said, noting that this still wasn’t the primary reason for an Android debut. “But actually, even bigger was the fact that we saw the majority of our users trying to build their own video interest graph, and similar to a Twitter model, we’re trying to build the biggest possible audiences, and with Android’s tremendous growth they weren’t able to access those audiences.”
For Klip, reaching Android is a top priority because it furthers their goal of becoming a social yardstick for user-generated video content. In service of that goal, the company has focused a lot of engineering effort on its Android app, in order to make sure that it doesn’t come across as a poorly ported version of its iOS app.
“The Android version is quite frankly the best-looking version of Klip that we’ve ever launched,” Hamilton said. “That’s primarily because with Android’s advanced hardware and displays, that actually gives us the ability to create an HD experience.” The company built new versions of the Klip app from the ground up, with assets designed for both 480p and 720p output, catering to both older and new-generation Android devices. Hamilton believes the Klip version of the app is actually a big improvement on the iOS version in terms of visuals, though he also added that Klip would definitely update its iOS version to take advantage of any new hardware Apple might release down the road.
Klip is also clearly hoping that an Android launch, especially one where the team has clearly invested a lot of time and effort in delivering a product that isn’t just an afterthought or a half-hearted port, will help it stand out against the competition. Hamilton characterized others operating on Android in mobile video sharing as “compromised or limited” compared to their iOS counterparts, and pointed to unique features like Klip’s scrubbable preview thumbnails and search functions as ways that they differ from other offerings.
It’s true that Socialcam’s Android app has come under fire for being neglected by the startup, which backs up the point Hamilton is trying to make. What isn’t clear are the motivations behind that neglect. It’s possible Socialcam just hasn’t seen the uptake on Android it would like, and in that case, devoting development resources to the platform like Klip has done is a considerable risk.
But for Klip, the key to success will be scaling, since its monetization plans center around delivering context-based and personally relevant advertising depending on a user’s interest graph. Growing its user base to a point where that becomes viable and sustainable will require reaching out to Android, which as a platform is huge and still expanding. We’ll see if the startup’s attention to detail and focus on providing a high-quality experience will help it edge out other social video apps on Google’s mobile OS.