Last week, information leaked that Instagram may be working on an app called Bolt that appeared to be a Snapchat competitor. Today, that information was confirmed to be true as Instagram has officially launched Bolt in select markets outside the US.
Only Singapore, South Africa and New Zealand will get this initial rollout of the iOS and Android apps. Unfortunately, the download links won’t work if you’re not in one of those three countries.
According to TechCrunch, Instagram says those countries were chosen because they meet a unique set of criteria. Each country features:
- High Instagram usage
- Deeply interconnected communities
- High penetration of Android Ice Cream Sandwich
- English speaking population
Instagram isn’t ready to release Bolt in the United States yet, so the idea is to launch it in a select few countries and iron out the kinks before releasing it worldwide.
As Bolt enters an incredibly crowded market, it’s trying to set itself apart by emphasizing the speed at which you can use it to send photos and videos to your contacts.
Bolt works by connecting to your phone’s contacts, and from there you select 20 of your favorites. The faces of the 20 people you select appear in a row across the bottom of the screen, with the view from your camera taking up the rest of the screen. To send one of your contacts a photo, just tap on their face and the photo is sent. A video is sent the same way, but by long pressing on the picture of the contact you want to send the video too.
Photos and videos will always be sent unedited, and you will have the option to caption them before sending. Once sent, the other person can reply to you with a text message or by sending a photo or video of their own.
Just like with Snapchat, photos and videos on Bolt are ephemeral. The description of the app emphasizes how you can just swipe them away and they’re gone forever.
Is super fast photo and video sharing enough for Bolt to take on competitors like Snapchat? Let me know whether or not you’re intrigued by this new app by leaving a comment below.