Thought you’d seen enough mobile photo apps? Well, Aviary has some different ideas. The New York City-based developer of advanced creative tools for photo, design and audio, is now bringing its web photo editing tools to mobile developers through an SDK for iPhone (s aapl) and Android (s goog) devices.
What this means is that any application can easily add effects, filters and photo editing tools, which can enhance many existing apps, not just primarily photo apps. But it could also potentially spawn a new generation of Instagrams. The SDK will come with about 17 tools in all covering things like cropping, rotating, auto-enhancing, red-eye removal, color and brightness adjustment. There are also a handful of extra features that include drawing, stickers, effects and text.
About 30 partners have already signed on to use Aviary’s photo editing tools including photo services like Picplz, Pictour, Pixable, Piictu, Twitr Pix, Fotobabble and Waddle. But the tools are also being implemented by other apps including car-sharing service Getaround, Fashism, Yumalicious, Minus and iSocialize.
Alex Taub, who leads business development at Aviary, told me the new tools will democratize photo effects and editing. Right now, some developers are building the tools themselves, but it’s not easy work. And in some cases, users are having to launch other photo editing apps to tweak pictures before uploading them.
Now, any app will be able to apply editing tools that enhance their apps. Developers will be able to use all of the tools but more likely will narrow down the options to ones that make sense for a particular app. Dating apps can select red-eye and blemish removal and teeth whitening while e-commerce sites can use auto-enhance to spruce up product photos or food apps can use cropping tools on dishes. And for photo apps like Picplz, they can easily implement some of the filters that have helped make Instagram popular.
“Everyone should have the ability to add photo editing tools,” Taub said. “It’s difficult to build them and maintain them. It’s something users are asking for, but many developers don’t have the bandwidth for that.”
Developers can quickly integrate the tools in about 15 minutes and match the editor to the color of an existing app. Aviary is making the SDK available for free and looking to make money through the sale of premium effects and revenue-sharing deals. Taub said the company is in the process of bringing over more effects to mobile and is looking at implementing some new effects specifically for mobile apps. An iPad SDK is expected to arrive later this month and a mobile web browser version is also expected soon after.
Aviary has a chance to be the Twilio of mobile photo apps, enabling a lot of apps to easily incorporate photo editing functionality. These days, with everyone snapping photos on their smartphones, it makes sense to offer better tools to enhance those photos. Even if Aviary doesn’t create a new generation of Instagram wannabes, there’s still a lot of opportunity in enhancing existing apps. Even Instagram or Facebook, which don’t have editing tools, could become customers of Aviary.
Aviary, which has raised $11.5 million from Jeff Bezos’ Bezos Expeditions and Spark Capital and others, also recently hired former Chief of Staff at Microsoft Paul Murphy as its new VP of Business Development.