In a post we said the mobile business is not just about location, and the camera (pictures) and contact list are also the golden mine waiting for us to explore. We have seen a few cool applications coming into the market, Instagram is the one playing with pictures and Kik is fantastic idea taking advantage of contact lists on your phone. Instagram comes with some cool effects filters which can transform the look and feel of your pictures then you can share it with your friends, which ‘sounds’ quite simple idea (although technically speaking, it’s actually not). But when every time when I take photos with my phone I always want to use Instagram to try cool effect, I realize Instagram has such a potential. Camera360, developed by a Chengdu-based startup PinGuo Digital Entertainment, is also a brilliant mobile application focusing on photos.
In a visit to Chengdu, I met with Xu Hao, the co-founder of Camera360 and had a pleasant conversation about his product.
Camera360, the Android application was first published in private beta in April 2010. It only took 3 month for Camera360 to reach 250,000 downloads on Google Android market and it now has over 1millions users across the world. Camera360 provides powerful functions for photo filtering (30 different shooting effect). By now, it comes with 6 shooting modes: Effect Mode, Scenery Mode, Funny Mode, Tilt-shift Mode, Color-shift Mode and Normal Mode, and each mode contains different effects. You can even set the related parameters to customize the effect.
I am playing with Camera360 for a couple of days. It’s such a cool application in terms of the functionality, usability and photo-processing efficiency. The best part I love it is that it takes 1-2 seconds only for processing and display the filtered photo, once you touch the screen you can see the original photo for comparison. Superb!
Xu Hao, co-founder of Camera360, is that kind of guy who is not just smart geek but also has the DNA of entrepreneurship. Xu decided to not continue his student life right after graduated from high school and first joined a local IT newspaper publisher as a junior editor. His job was to create the html-version of the newspaper. He found most of time the job is just to copy & paste and is quite time-consuming, so he developed a software which can do the job in batch. It did not take long till he quit the job and started his first company, a photo and video editing studio. “There were several local celebrities who were actually my customers several years ago.” Xu smiled. The second business he opened with his partners was a wedding studio where he developed a program for better editing wedding photos. He then spent lots of time on image processing until Februray 2010 he see the potential of mobile market. “People always asked me why I developed Camera360. For me actually it’s quite natural. I’ve been working on image processing for almost 10 years, so the only thing I can do and am confident with on mobile is image-processing.” Xu said. “I am a fan of Google, so I chose Android. I bought a book about Android Programming in February, and one month later I had the first demo.”
The Future Plan
Unlike other mobile application development team, as Camera360 team has a very strong background and convincing technology on image-processing, it is facing less competition. The company has raised its first round fund from a famous venture capital, so I am asking Xu for his future plan. “We are working on the iPhone version which will be released soon. And the next version of Camera360 will be added more Sharing features, the we are planning some social features too.” Xu told me.
I guess we might see an Instagram-like application with more powerful and interesting image filtering features soon.