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Voicepic: The Latest Photo App Making Noise in Japan

Voicepic Logo

We’ve written about a lot about creative photo applications coming out of Japan. There has been Line Camera, which has some crazy decorative functions, as well as the more recent Manga Camera which lets you turn your photos into a manga-style comic picture. But another photo application got some attention last week at the Techcrunch Tokyo 2012 event, walking away with the ‘Mashup Award.’

UIEvolution’s ‘Voicepic’ app for iPhone brings the element of sound into your photos, letting you add a brief voice comment, or record and attach ambient sound from where the picture was taken. I’ve been a fan of services like Soundslides for a while, so I was excited to learn more about Voicepic’s recent developments, even though it has been around for a while now. Even though you’re just adding audio to one image, this is a pretty great solution for when you find a scene that sounds just as good as it looks. An idling motorcycle, a barking dog — there are lots of fun possibilities here. Here’s one below of a baby laughing. Just press the play button to hear the voice element.

The service could be potentially popular in emerging markets where data speeds aren’t up to par, making video transfers difficult. We recently wrote about California-based Vuclip, and how it are focusing on emerging markets as a target audience for its compressed video product. Voicepic’s director, Manabu Shimobe, tells me that his company is also planning to push Voicepic in similar markets, and I think this is a wise move. I’m told that an Android version is in the works, and that will certainly help make Voicepic more accessible for those with budget handsets. But so far there’s no word on when this version might be released.

But how can a service like this make any money? Manabu explains that there are a number of ways that they could do this. One is by holding sponsored events in the application, asking users to create Voice pics around certain themes. So for example, a noodle company could sponsor the theme of people eating/slurping noodles, and the resulting media could then be shared on social networks.

Other potential monetization strategies include in-app purchases like image and voice filters, or the possibility of selling their solution to with a customized user interface to entertainment companies looking for a creative way to present their content.

So what’s in store for Voicepic in the near future? Manabu adds that they are planning to add login support for Sina Weibo, which will make access to the China market a lot easier for them. The company also plans to continue work on its picture format, as Manabu explains:

We’re planning to embed audio data within jpeg’s application data segment and make the specification publicly available to spread the jpeg+audio format (aka Voicepic format).

I was impressed to see that Voicepics can be embedded and shared on the web, and they can even be played on Facebook after they are shared. But because they depend on Flash right now, that creates some problems for mobile — although they are hoping to rectify this in the coming weeks so that Voicepics can be played on both desktop and mobile. So stay tuned for that.

To learn more about Voicepic, check out the demo video below. Or if you’d like to take it for a test run, go get it in the app store.


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