In the world of apps, we’re eagerly awaiting the next Draw Something, the next Words with Friends, the next Candy Crush Saga; something that becomes so stupidly popular that you’ve sure as hell heard of it, even if you’re not playing it.
That something might be – or could’ve been - a potentially fantastic app called Bitstrips, the only slight hurdle being that the developers didn’t anticipate becoming so huge, and consequently their servers have apparently melted.
The Bitstrips proposition is incredibly simple. Essentially you create your own avatar, based on your silly face, and Bitstrips subsequently throws the cartoon version of you into a massive array of little comic panels with generally quite amusing captions.
Better still, by logging in via Facebook, you can import your friends’ avatars, or even create your friends from scratch if they haven’t signed up yet.
In addition to the default panels, you can customise the facial expressions and add little captions. It’s the ability to customise – or better still personalise – the experience that makes Bitstrips brilliant.
Helping the app go viral, you also have the option to share your designs with friends on Facebook. Perfect.
Stumbling block: quite often the app doesn’t work. On attempting to open Bitstrips this morning, I’m seeing the error message: “We are currently upgrading our database. Please stand by…”
For several hours last night, I generally found that the comic panels wouldn’t load, with an error message stating that the servers were overloaded. Gah.
The App Store description explains (in CAPS LOCK for added effect): “THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO'S DOWNLOADED OUR APP! WE'RE OVERWHELMED BY THE INCREDIBLE RESPONSE – AND SO ARE OUR SERVERS. PLEASE BEAR WITH US WHILE WE SCALE UP AND KEEP MAKING BITSTRIPS FASTER AND BETTER FOR EVERYONE!”
It’s a shame really, as the Bitstrips experience has clearly been tainted for many users, as evidenced by the average 1.5/5 rating on the App Store, and an accompanying feast of irate reviews. Behold:
- “Disappointing. Really good concept but cr*p execution” – Mojorowe
- “This app could be brilliant… If it worked properly!!!” – Rpoxon
- “This would be a 5 star app if the strips loaded.” – Azza103
- “This has the potential to be one of the best apps ever but it has too many issues.” – Cheezables
- “Just uninstalled this app which is a shame cuz it looks pretty cool.” – Abbie Ryan
- “I agree, this could be the next big thing – it’s already all over my Facebook timeline. However, somedays I get on it fine, others it freezes and won’t even log me on. Disappointing as it has so much potential.” – Cupcait24
Another strange thing I’ve noticed is that Bitstrips is entirely free i.e. free to install, and with no in-app purchases. Furthermore, there aren’t any ads, so Allah knows how the guys are monetising.
Incidentally, people are crying out for accessories in the comments, including tattoos, piercings and more beards. Charge 69p for accessory packs and watch the money roll in.
It’s all very strange, as if Bitstrips turned up at a rock concert expecting to play in front of 10 people, instead finding a sold out arena and realising: “Sh*t, we’ve only got a 10W amp.”
As such, I’ll refrain from reviewing Bitstrips for now, as it’s essentially unreviewable in its current state. Heck, I can’t even open it! For now, file this one under One To Watch.