Had you noticed that Sonic Lighter (by Smule) was recently updated to be relevant to the pending presidential election? That’s right — a simple, silly, virtual lighter, now has the capability to give you first hand political polling results from around the world, for the two lead presidential candidates. Select your party preference, light up, and view the globe to see how everyone else is voting (or would vote if they were American).
The location data from Smule’s applications can be uploaded (with your permission of course) to their servers for real time processing. The results are geographical polling results or recently lit flames. This example just scratches the surface of what Smule is capable of, and I recommend keeping in mind that when ‘playing’ with one of Smule’s iPhone applications, a boatload of ingenious potential is lurking in the shadows.
To give you an idea of the horsepower behind the team at Smule, peep their about page. Go ahead, I’ll wait… These guys have more PhD’s (and PhD’s in progress) than any of the iPhone software development shops I’ve heard of (and probably more than many indie OS X development groups as well). Point being, this isn’t just another group of high school whiz kids programming in their parents’ basement to make a few extra bucks — these folks have years of schooling to back up their incredible body of work. To me, that alone is enough to pause and find out what’s going on at Smule that’s unique enough to have that kind of talent behind the wheel.
The Smule Interconnection
Chew on this idea: Smule Apps work together. They communicate with one another, so as you come in contact with another iPhone user with a Smule application, your iPhones can now interact at the application layer. This interaction has the ability to create links or networks between the iPhone users, which obviously requires a face to face meeting. (Think of it as the anti-[insert your favorite or most hated social network] for those of us who still prefer talking to people in the flesh.) Sonic Boom can even be made more powerful in groups. (Bet you didn’t know that!) Go ahead and try it with some friends — light all your Sonic Booms at once, and when they go off, your globe-view explosion will be larger in your geographic location than the solo explosions else where in the world. The explosion’s debris is even interactive, allowing you to blow into your mic and stir up the remains — and it’s all as unique as a snowflake every time you do it.
Sonic Lighter has the unique ability to light your friends’ iPhone-based Sonic Lighters on fire. Or you could use Sonic Lighter to ignite (and blow up) Sonic Boom’s firecracker. This represents Smule’s revolutionary Sonic Modem technology, which can be thought of as network over audio. Here’s the ability for different devices (or applications) to communicate with one another, free of bluetooth, infrared, or cables, but instead with nothing more than sonic tones. Coming from a professional network engineer, this concept is downright cool. Oh, and they’re making the Sonic Modem tech available to other interested developers to use in their own creations. So around the corner could be an entire market of Sonically-networked iPhone applications! While right now this capability doesn’t represent anything I’d call hugely useful, I would call the concept and potential revolutionary.
The level of thought and technology going into Smule’s iPhone applications is truly remarkable. When I got all this dirt from Smule CEO, Jeff Smith, it really opened up my eyes. I mean, who would have guessed that these silly $.99 programs in the App Store would have so much potential behind them? And you wanna know the crazy part? From what I hear, these examples from Smule are more or less proof-of-concepts for even greater feats of programming and iPhone interactivity from this incredible group. I think, if you’re not excited by these insights, and the true breadth of technology going on behind the scenes with the applications Smule is turning out, you’re just not a true nerd. Keep your eye on the big brains at Smule — I’m certain we’ll be seeing a lot more incredible innovation out of them.