Show your skills with Showboatr

IMG_2409Showboatr is a new iOS app from Nyquist Design. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store, with no additional in-app purchases.

Showboatr is a video-centric social network, but rather than simply allowing users to freely share videos, it instead focuses on various “challenges,” many of which are clearly designed to be both amusing and impressive. A typical challenge tasks users with anything from tearing an apple in half to licking a frozen object and getting their tongue stuck, and demands that they prove they at least attempted the challenge with a video. Other users who then watch the video can vote on whether or not they believe the person in the video “nailed” or “failed” the challenge.

The Showboatr app is split into a few distinct components. Users must sign in to the app first of all, either using a proprietary Showboatr account or Facebook, and are then immediately taken to the Challenges page, which is further subdivided into three categories. The “Collections” tab groups together various related challenges such as all the tasks that involve fruit, or scenes inspired by movies, or dance-related challenges; the “Staff Picks” tab includes the favorite challenges of the Showboatr team; and the “Popular” tab displays those challenges that have seen the most activity. In all cases, tapping on a challenge takes you to a page of information about it, where the description can be read, other users’ videos can be viewed and voted on, or the challenge attempted. Users may also challenge specific friends using either Facebook or email — in the former case, the challenge may be issued as a public post if desired.

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The Videos section of the app focuses on submitted videos rather than the specific challenges, and is again split into several tabs. The “Popular” tab displays those which have seen a lot of viewing and voting activity; the Friends tab allows users to quickly find the videos from their Facebook friends; and the Mine tab allows quick access to all the user’s own videos. When viewing a video from this page, it’s possible to either jump straight to the challenge page or share the video on Facebook or Twitter if desired.

The Status section of the app tracks the user’s performance. A “level” meter allows the user to earn points every time another Showboatr user marks them as having “nailed” a challenge, and upon reaching various milestones, the user gains a level. The level is actually largely meaningless, but it is displayed next to the user’s name when they contribute to the community, so it does provide a degree of bragging rights. The status page also allows users to keep tabs on the challenges that are in progress or that they have completed along with the total number of views their videos have enjoyed, the total number of “nailed it” votes they have achieved, and the total number of times their videos have been shared. There is clearly a strong focus on making videos that not only complete the challenge, but which are noteworthy and/or amusing enough to have viral potential.

Showboatr is an interesting app because it has a clear purpose. That purpose is silly and amusing rather than legitimately “useful,” of course, but the simple fact that it has a purpose at all is enough to distinguish it from the numerous rather aimless Instagram wannabes that litter the App Store. The community is rather small at present, but there are already some very amusing videos for some thoroughly silly challenges, and the app very much has the potential to become something of a “party game” for many users. While the self-conscious silliness doubtless won’t appeal to everyone, for those who enjoy amusing (and occasionally legitimately impressive) Internet videos, there’s really a lot to like about Showboatr.

You can follow Showboatr’s progress with AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social apps and developers.