It’s rare for a Pakistani startup to aim high and target a global audience but Zapbuddy is an exception.
A small team, working out of a basement in Islamabad, wants to challenge the supremacy of Whatsapp by adding patented features that they claim will outshine already available chat apps.
While this may seem like a long shot, the home-grown ZapBuddy app is as smooth as you could ever expect. It’s primarily a chat app, much like Whatsapp, FB messenger, Line and many others that are out there. To distinguish themselves, they have added multiple new features that they hope will make them stand out.
Below are some of the unique features of ZapBuddy:
ZapBuddy’s main distinguishing feature have is Augmented Reality. AR is one of the hottest fields of 2018 and the app integrates it into the chat platform quite well.
Using Augmented Reality, users can see the locations of other users through their camera and also use a radar to determine locations. The radar can work as an alternative if, for some reason, Maps are down.
Zapbuddy also cleverly uses AR to locate nearby points of interest or even search one for that matter.
Beyond that, it’s pretty simple and we feel there are many more possibilities to explore. The team has assured us that there is much more to come with regards to AR and Zapbuddy.
Location and Display Picture Privacy
With Zapbuddy, users have the option to set different display pictures for different categories of users.
Users can set different display pictures for people within contact book, different for people outside phonebook who may have your number, different for blocked users and even set a picture for specific contacts.
This is a feature the team feels is going to be very helpful with more and more people becoming privacy conscious. Similar settings are available for location as well. This can be useful when you want to share your location with friends but not with other people in your contact list.
Moving on, they claim that ‘exceptional notifications’ are another of their unique features.
With this feature, even if chats are on silent, you’ll be able to get notifications from a person in the exceptions list.
Furthermore, there is a neat feature called Lock Screen functionality. It enables users to lock the app and share their phone thus not allowing friends to see chats and conversations.
Again, like the previous features this is also to ensure privacy.
Privacy and Performance
The chat app is end to end encrypted and according to details shared by the team, the level of encryption exceeds industry standards.
As far as the performance is concerned, the app is smooth, sleek and neat. The team told us that they have hard-tested the app with several hundred thousand concurrent connections to make sure that back-end is solid and prepared for any spikes.
Available for iOS for Now
This is going to be a deal-breaker for majority of Pakistanis as ZapBuddy is available for iOS only for now. But team is working hard to get the Android version ready.
iOS version can be downloaded from here.
More information on ZapBuddy can be obtained from their website from here: https://www.zapbuddy.com/
Competing with Whatsapp is the last thing an entrepreneur would want, but we must not underestimate the potential of ZapBuddy.
For example, if Government of Pakistan plans to roll-out a local version of Whatsapp — for reasons you can imagine — ZapBuddy could immediately become a great locally developed chat app for the country.
Looking at the app, its user experience and the features, the team definitely deserves applause. However, only time will tell if they invested their time in the right solution or not.
A lot will depend on how ZapBuddy will market its product and what route will it take to reach their first million users.