If there are two things that smartphones and tablets have been extremely useful for, it’s for taking photos and for social networking. Case in point: Instagram grew to millions of users even without having a desktop web interface. But it’s not enough to share photos and view photos by friends. Cooliris, which was among the developers of the stock Android photo browser, says it’s more important to give users an “immersive experience” in viewing and sharing photos.
Cooliris expanded to the iOS platform earlier this year, supporting the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The app has achieved #1 spot for iPad downloads at the iTunes App Store in 75 countries, and boasts of 250 million photo views. The developers are now aiming to enter an altogether different market: China.
China is among today’s fastest-growing markets for smartphones, and has almost a billion mobile phone users. The Chinese are also no strangers to top-end smartphones, with Apple actually reporting having sold 2 million iPhone 5 units on the first weekend of launch alone.
Cooliris’ launch in China involves a customized app, which integrates Chinese social networking service RenRen on top of the usual sources like Picasa, Google+, Facebook, Flickr and the like.
Cooliris CEO Soujanya Bhukmar says the company’s goal is to create the “most beautiful and delightful photo discovery experience on mobile devices everywhere.” He notes that China is becoming one of the world’s largest smartphone markets. “[W]e are thrilled to launch our first international version of Cooliris with local content in China.”
Cooliris’ team is headquartered in Palo Alto, California, and involves 14 collaborators scattered around the globe, including Singapore, Berlin and Taipei. The startup aims to create immersive media-centric experiences through which mobile users can create, consume and curate content. Cooliris is venture backed by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, DAG Ventures, The Westly Group, T-Venture, and DOCOMO Capital.