[New App] invi, the way text messaging was meant to Be

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Everyone here is familiar with text messaging. You write-up an SMS and send it to a number and you can talk without ever having to physically be vocal. It is a simple and usually a preferred method of communication for many. I know I personally text way more than I ever talk. While SMS has been around for ages, it has always just been… well BLAH. In terms of interface and functionality. For instance, if I am checking out a great YouTube video I can share the link in a text. If I do though, then you have to tap the link and open up either the YouTube app or go to the YouTube mobile page. Either way, it is less than ideal, however it does work. What if there was a better way? What if there was a more visually appealing messaging application? Well my friends, there is now.

A new start-up company out of Palo Alto California had the same thoughts and feelings as many of you. Why can’t my texts be more fluid and pretty. So the small team got together and created invi.

“invi has been developed for today’s fast-paced generation who prefer to communicate via texting and want to be able to express themselves through more than words. It’s time for apps to be integrated into texting so we can watch YouTube videos, listen to music, post to Facebook and much more, all while we text.” – Co-founder, Iddo Tal

“We wanted to take the well-known texting experience and transform it into a slick, visual and engaging one, while keeping it super fast and simple as texting should be. invi seamlessly integrates with Android, making sharing into and out of it easy and beautiful without interrupting the flow of the conversation.” – Co-founder, Lior Gonnen

What is invi? Well, invi is texting re-invented. Yes, I stole that from their logo, but it is true. invi is its own special text messaging app that lets you do more than just send a quick message to your friend or business associate. It offers up more than just the ability to send a picture to your wife. It offers up an easy to use user interface that is visually appealing and quite a bit more functional. Lets give you a brief walk through on how the app works, looks and can be used.

When you first install invi you will be prompted to register your phone number. This is how their servers will make sure that messages send through invi get to you and not someone else. Once you are registered it will walk you through setting up a profile image and a banner that appears at the top of your invi inbox as well as what your friends will see on their inbox list. It is super easy to do. Once you are set up, the service will automatically search out all the contacts you have stored in your device and connect them in your list of friends if they have invi installed. The short of it, if you have your mom saved in your device and she installs invi, she will appear in your friends list.

  
Now, on to why this app captivated us and why we got involved with them a few weeks ago. The additional functionality and abilities that the app offers. Sure, you can sit there and just text your friend through invi. It uses data instead of your carriers SMS service, so it is free across the globe. So is Google+, GChat and a host of other services out there. The integration of YouTube is probably the greatest feature the service offers.

If you are watching a hilarious episode of The MandDroid show and want to share it with a friend, hit the share button, then invi, then the person you want to share it with. It will be instantly available to your friend in their invi inbox. Rather than both of you just seeing a link, you see a banner image of the video. Click on it and it opens up so that you can hit play. Here is where it gets really cool. Instead of prompting you to open up the YouTube app or going to the browser, the video begins playing at the top of the screen which lets you watch the video and still text your friend at the same time. You can directly share the same video with your other invi friends, Facebook or any other outlet you wish.

When you send a photo through invi, instead of an MMS, you and the receiver get a nice little preview of the picture. Again, just tap on it once to expand it a little then hit the four-way arrows to make it go full screen.  You can then use pinch to zoom in and out on the image. You can also share it directly to Facebook, other invi friends or, of course, any other app that is connected for sharing.

  
That is just a tip of the ice berg as far as what invi can do and is going to do. Eventually there will be the ability to share a web link and see a preview of the page in the app, send over a music link and be able to listen to the song while still texting, using a player at the top of the screen much like the YouTube integration. Who and what they are going to use is a secret, for now. It really is quite beautiful and impressive to utilize.

Inside the settings you don’t find many to mess around with. One that is rather important is the Black Theme. When we were first asked to take a look at the app it was all white, like you see in some of the screenshots. We knew that just wouldn’t fly. Samsung devices definitely benefit from Blacks more than Whites in terms of battery consumption. Also, all white is a bit of an eye sore at night and in direct sunlight. So we immediately put the request in for a dark theme option to be available at launch. The invi team was more than happy to get that implemented prior to today’s launch, and even most of them are now strictly using the dark theme. You can thank us later. ;-)

  
There are a few more advantages to this app that we must be sure to mention. The app is available for you to download now. It is restricted to Android 3.0+ and a minimum screen resolution of 480×800. That should cover a large majority of users, but will break the hearts of those still on Android 2.3 or low res devices. It is fully compatible with tablets, but the UI is still being worked on a little, so your experience might be a little different there. That brings up another point that you should all be aware of. If you have, say a Nexus 7, you can install invi. When you register with your phone number a text will be delivered to your phone. Be that an Android device, a Blackberry …. *GULP* an iPhone or even a traditional flip phone. Put in the code and when ever  you want, you can invi your friends and family from your Wi-Fi only tablet anywhere in the world over a data connection.

While invi is a pretty powerful message app, there are a few things that we feel we must clear up right out of the gates before you go installing it. This is NOT a messenger application in the sense that it uses user names, your email or passwords. This is, as they put it, “Text. Re-Invented.” It relies on your phone book contacts to make the connection. If you only talk to Joe Bob Jr on Gchat and don’t have his number, nor him yours, you can’t use invi. That is the way it current sits, but could be offering alternative options in the future.  But, for all your friends who’s numbers you do have, if they install invi, you will have instant access to talk to them on it. We also noticed something else. If you have Google+ contacts synced with your device, even if you hide them from your phonebook, you will still be able to communicate with those people who install invi. Only if those contacts have their numbers listed on their G+ accounts of course. Also, it is its own application. Don’t expect to use it as your daily text app from everyone. That means if I don’t have invi and text you normally, you still get a message in your normal inbox, not your invi inbox. Also, there isn’t a way to add people to conversations. Not really sure there should be though, since this is a revamped text message app, not a messenger client.

The invi team has a whole lot of plans to make the app even more amazing than it already is. It has some powerful potential for visually centric type of people. I know I will be using it exclusively to chat with friends overseas and with my wife, simply because it is fun and with the YouTube integration, I can link a video and talk to them about it while they watch. The sharing aspect works as it should and after the Black Theme was added, I am much happier with it.

Feel free to give it a try and see what you think. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to set up and is extremely pretty. Let us know in the comments, and remember  it won’t do you a darn bit of good unless you get your friends to install it too.

Be sure to click or scan the QR code found below so that you can pick it up and give it a whirl. You can check out more invi news on their Facebook page and keep in the know by following them on Twitter too.

Application: invi 
Developer: invi Labs
Cost: FREE

Press release below

Mobile startup, invi, launches rich media texting app and raises $750K in seed funding

Horizons Ventures (Li Ka-shing) and Atlantic Bridge among investors

 

Palo Alto, California, November 14th, 2012 – mobile texting application, invi, has launched today on Google Play for all Android devices, Gingerbread and above, including tablets. invi was co-founded by serial entrepreneurs, IddoTal and LiorGonnen, who graduated from  Silicon Valley accelerator, UpWestLabs. invi also announced today that it raised $750,000 in seed funding from prominent international investors including Horizons Ventures, which manages the private venture investments of Mr Li Ka-shing in the technology sector globally, Atlantic Bridge and leading Silicon Valley angels from Google, Nokia, Yahoo, Groupon, Spotify, SRI, and others.

invi is no ordinary texting application. It sets itself apart with its refreshing approach to the inbox, which is an impressive display of cover photos rather than the traditional list of names.  Moreover, with invi, for the first time, interactive content can flow seamlessly between texting and other apps.

In addition, invi is a texting experience beyond that of other texting applications. It integrates with other apps. Photos can be shared from Facebook, gallery and other apps, directly into the chat, and appear as beautiful previews taking full advantage of today’s large smart phone displays. No more tiny thumbnail attachments. Conversely, content shared through invi has an action bar that makes it possible to instantly share with other mobile applications such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

YouTube videos can also be shared on invi. Instead of just a link, the actual video is displayed inside the chat. It can be played while texting continues, enabling real-time texting conversations between two people watching a video.

“invi has been developed for today’s fast-paced generation who prefer to communicate via texting and want to be able to express themselves through more than words. It’s time for apps to be integrated into texting so we can watch YouTube videos, listen to music, post to Facebook and much more, all while we text.” – Co-founder, Iddo Tal

“We wanted to take the well-known texting experience and transform it into a slick, visual and engaging one, while keeping it super fast and simple as texting should be. invi seamlessly integrates with Android, making sharing into and out of it easy and beautiful without interrupting the flow of the conversation.” – Co-founder, Lior Gonnen

“Invi’s innovative approach to integrating rich media into messaging makes communication really easy, social and flexible. Their solution truly brings the Next Generation of Social Messaging to your fingertips! Atlantic Bridge Capital is excited about this opportunity and we look forward to working with two very talented founders, Iddo and Lior.” Alpesh Amin, Atlantic Bridge Capital.

invi can be downloaded from GooglePlay today.

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About invi

invi is all about making mobile texting visually interactive and beautiful and enabling users to take advantage of their smart phone’s rich media capabilities. invi was co-founded by Iddo Tal and Lior Gonnen, and is supported by an impressive list of investors including Horizons Ventures, which manages the private venture investments of Mr Li Ka-shing in the technology sector globally, Atlantic Bridge and Silicon Valley angels from Google, Nokia, Yahoo, Groupon, Spotify, Path, SRI, Cisco and others. Follow invi on Facebook and Twitter.

 

About the Author

Stormy Beach
I am the proud father of three, 3, 9, and 12. I recently upgraded from the Samsung Galaxy S3 to the Sony Xperia Z. Having so many kids warranted a change of pace. Let me tell you, it is mind blowing. I love Android, I love tech and I love my family. Not in that order though. I work hard, play even harder and take care of all that are around me when I can.

  • Bdveteran18

    Been using this app since I saw this post this morning and i have to say i’m impressed with it so far. Sure I would like a plethora of features to be added but as a first run of the application it handles itself well on my S3. I hope they keep up with the development of this app. Has already mad it to my home screen of most used apps.

  • Mario

    can’t wait for google to integrate this into their messaging app…you know it’s coming, like winter :P

    • http://www.androidspin.com Stormy Beach

      It should. If Google bought them and made this the standard messaging app for the next Android OS version, it would be perfect.

  • tassha

    Hey join me on invi please. Need more friends on invi >< +6287877508087 save my number! ;) see you on invi ;)

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