Drippler, a free app arriving on iOS Thursday, is a great example of one of the things our mobile devices are increasingly getting better at: doing things for us automatically through personalization. Just by detecting your phone model, your carrier, the operating system you’re running, and finding out a few of your preferences, the Drippler app will curate content for you into a kind of digital how-to manual for your iPhone. Besides suggesting software updates and personalized tech advice related your phone, or a new service from your carrier, it can also send you recommendations for iPhone apps and accessories you might like.
The app has a customized, scrollable feed of the latest news stories that are relevant to your device. If you click on a story, say a review of Twitter’s new iOS Music app, Drippler inserts a link to the app at the bottom of the screen. If you click install, it leads you right to the App Store.
The items that appear in your Drippler feed are crowdsourced — if other users similar to you like the stories, they’ll appear in your feed. As you click on items, download apps or “like” content, Drippler’s algorithm will get better at determining what is and is not interesting to you. If you’d rather not have to scroll through the Drippler feed every day, you can opt to receive “daily drips,” which are personalized items that arrive via a push notification once a day.
Drippler is one of those rarities: an app that started out and gained its popularity on Android before landing on the iOS platform; in the last year it’s racked up 5 million downloads in the Google Play store. CEO Matan Talmi told me last week that route was necessary because of his core audience. “We started on Android because [the app] is device-specific, and there are more Android devices” in his company’s home country of Israel. “But now we have to be on iOS,” he said.
The goal is “to make the iPhone better for mainstream users,” Talmi said. In that case, his timing isn’t bad. Apple has entered a new era of the iPhone — one where more than ever it’s putting older, discounted iPhone models in the hands of customers who’ve never owned a smartphone before. It’s these kinds of customers — the opposite of early adopters — that may benefit the most from a personalized service like Drippler.