Around a month ago I scribbled Bitstrips: on the verge of taking over the world… if only it worked. Y’see, I had intended to review the app, but they were having fairly major problems with server overloads, meaning at times it'd refuse to open.
Four weeks on, things appear to have improved quite significantly, so it’s time to boat this bass.
If you use Facebook, chances are you’re thoroughly familiar with – and almost certainly sick of – the Bitstrips schtick.
Essentially you create a little avatar version of yourself, and Bitstrips throws you into lots of vaguely amusing comic strips.
The thing that seems to have really hooked people, however, is Bitstrips’ ability to generate little comic panels with your Facebook friends. Resultantly, users feel compelled to share their creations with their entire Facebook family, and hence the app has gone viral. Smart.
The Bitstrips UI is split into five sections. For starters, you have Today’s New Comics, with a seemingly endless reel of strips; and next to that is Make A Comic, inviting you to create a panel from scratch, choosing from one of 18 categories.
Section three allows you to Update Your Look, while Settings does what it says on the tin. Archives, finally, acts as a vault for Comics By Friends and Comics By Me; this is all the stuff you’re seeing on Facebook in one handy place.
On the whole, Bitstrips is a strange app. There are flashes of genius, but it’s also – in a sense – hugely confusing.
Pros include the mountain of options in the Avatar section, meaning most creations look quite accurate, and the ability to personalise strips with speech bubbles, captions and facial expressions.
On the poop side, I don’t understand why Bitstrips attempts to shove so many freakin’ panels on the main screen (surely this contributes to the server overloads; some panels are still failing to load; why not group them in 10s or something?), and it’s still not possible to sign in without a Facebook account.
The strangest thing of all, however, is the fact that there are no in-app purchases (I previously suggested charging for accessories like tattoos) and no ads. The developers boast of having 11 million unique users, but how they’re making any money is beyond me.
Anyway, so, depending on your point of view, Bitstrips is either fun and social, or a massive pain in the Newsfeed. Either way, it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere anytime soon.
- Loads of strips
- Loads of Avatar options
- Customise with speech bubbles
- Still not 100% functional
- Can’t use without Facebook
- How are they making money? (*furrows brow*)
Summary: Bitstrips invites you to create little comic strips of you and your Facebook friends and share them with the world. Love it or hate it, it’s a hunk of social/viral genius, but how the heck are they “monetising”?
iOS compatibility: Requires iOS 4.3 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.
Android compatibility: Requires Android 2.2 or above.