Start-up Sidecar has taken the wraps off a new smartphone app that enables users to share live video and other multimedia content with friends, family members and fellow workers even as they are talking on their phones.
Sidecar makes it possible for users to share photos instantly or deliver the entire contents of an album stored on their phones while chatting with the recipient. Interconnected Sidecar users also will be able to simultaneously view other content, such as an interactive street map.
With Sidecar the goal is to help handset users break out of today's voice-calling silo, said Sidecar CEO Rob Williams. Until now, people who wanted to do more than talk "had to toggle back and forth between voice calls and whatever else they wanted to share with the person they were calling," Williams said Tuesday.
There has been tremendous innovation in smartphones in every area except the basic phone call, Williams observed.
Sidecar tears down these barriers and lets people easily share live video, location, photos, and contacts while they talk," he said. "The result is a more fun, engaging, and expressive conversation."
Connecting Users Worldwide
Among other things, the new Sidecar app enables live videos to be shared with others even as they are being captured by the user's handset camcorder. The service is free whenever both the user and the recipients have Sidecar installed on their phones.
By instantly sharing maps, Sidecar makes it easy for commuters looking for rides to visually inform drivers just where to pick them up and drop them off. Sidecar is already geared up to serve the commuting needs of the communities of passengers and drivers around the world, said the company, which is based in San Francisco and Seattle.
The new Sidecar app also gives users the ability to swiftly pass along and integrate contacts from their phones' address books, as well as send a private text message to another Sidecar user during a voice call.
What's more, individuals can call anyone in the U.S. or Canada for free over a Wi-Fi connection -- even if the recipient of the call is not a Sidecar user. When the call ends, the recipient will receive a text message inviting them to join Sidecar. Additionally, calls to other Sidecar users anywhere in the world are free.
Premium Service Plans
Given that Sidecar's new mobile app and service is free, we asked Williams how his company intends to make money. (continued...)