How to make an app like FatBooth

Take an ordinary photo with your phone’s camera and let the FatBooth software turn the image into a fatter version.  Easy. Fun. Viral.

FatBooth is a visual effects app for smartphones, developed by French company PiVi & Co. This simple application was estimated to be very short-lived, but turned out to be one of the most successful apps of all time. This week, we take a closer look at FatBooth.

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Technology and Features

FatBooth is one of the simplest apps to use, literally as easy as taking a photo and wait for the result to appear. All you need to do to shift between the original photo and the new fatter version, is shake your phone. It works with photos taken with your camera or from your photo gallery, auto-cropping is enabled using face detection, and the transformation process is instant with no internet connection needed. You can save and scroll results in the app gallery, and share via MMS, email, FaceBook or Twitter.

 

The Android app is 3.8Mb in size, optimized for Android platform v2.1 or later and can be installed onto your SD card if you are running Android 2.2 or above. The iOS version requires iOS 5.0, is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, and optimized for iPhone 5.

The newest addition to FatBooth iOS includes a ‘Live Video’ feature, which allows you to record and save in your Camera roll.  The ‘Live Video’ feature enables the app to monetize through in-app-purchases.

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History

FatBooth was launched as a paid app for iOS in May 2010, priced at 0.99 USD. By 2012, it had 25 million downloads, and was ranked number 17 by Apple on the list of “top 25 all-time paid apps”. It was then released as a free app for Android in June 2013, and for iOS in December 2012. The app is no longer on the list, but has been installed over 10 million times on the Android platform.

In February 2010, before FatBooth, PiVi & Co released their paid app “AgingBooth” (making the subject look old). It has been ranking similarly on the iOS app store, but was never claimed to be as successful by their developers. It’s still priced at 0.99 USD.

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Following the two apps, PiVi & Co expanded on the same concept, and released similar apps: BaldBooth (making the subject look bald), MixBooth (mixing two subjects), UglyBooth (making the subject look ugly), BimboBooth (making the subject look like a bimbo, and HeliumBooth (video feature). All with various success and priced at 0.99 USD. The only other free app released is BoothStache (giving the subject a mustache).

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The gross revenue for FatBooth on the iOS platform is estimated to be as high as $24 million, which would make it one of the highest grossing iOS apps of all time. However, published revenues from PiVi & Co show that the company, across all its apps, only brought revenues of $1.9 million USD in 2010, $2.8 million USD in 2011 and $1.9 million USD in 2012.

So, a simple idea, well executed and four years later millions of dollars in revenue – it’s these opportunities that prompted us to create our Course teaching non-technical people how to go about turning their own app ideas into an app.  To learn how to make an app with your own idea,  start on a free trial with the first Course tutorial today.

Vijay Santhanam

Vijay Santhanam wrote on

Vijay's a co-founder of AppInstruct. He won the Vodafone Java Games Challenge in 2003 with his Skidlock Racer mobile game. Vijay taught various School of Software subjects at University of Technology, Sydney from 2010-12. He has built numerous apps for Big Name clients, including the Lasoo app and Optus (Australia's second largest mobile carrier). His favorite app is Tweetbot, for its beautiful design and elegant functionality.