Frame My Photo gives images the finishing touch

Frame My Photo is a new iOS app from Unity Apps. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store with no additional in-app purchases — though the app description suggests it will only be free for a limited period.

As the title suggests, Frame My Photo is a simple app designed to allow users to quickly and easily add a picture frame effect to photographs from their device’s camera, photo library or their Facebook photo albums. The resulting framed images can then be shared via Facebook, Twitter and email or saved to the device’s camera roll.

Using the app is a simple matter of choosing the image source (camera, Facebook or photo library) and then picking or taking the photograph. This process is occasionally interrupted by pop-up advertising alerts offering free games and the like, but not so often as to be too obtrusive. Importing a photo from the camera or photo library is very straightforward — the photo library option also allows photos to be pulled from iCloud Photo Stream if available — but the Facebook option appears to be broken at present. Tapping on the Facebook option opens the Facebook app (if installed) and then should open the app’s permissions page and allow the user to install it to their social network account — however, when tested, this option steadfastly refused to work, instead giving a non-specific error message (“An error occurred. Please try again later.”) and simply returning to the social network’s News Feed when cancelled. It’s not clear if this is an issue with Facebook or the app itself, but the problem persisted regardless of whether the device was connected to Wi-Fi or cellular data, and happened repeatedly.

Once a photo has been successfully imported, one of nine different frames can be picked from a selection on the screen. The photograph may then be manipulated by dragging to pan it, pinching to zoom and also pinching to rotate if desired. Once this is done, the user may tap the “Share” button in the corner of the screen to save the image to their camera roll, share it on Facebook or Twitter, or send it via email. The Facebook functionality in this component was also broken at the time of writing. The Twitter functionality worked fine, making use of iOS 5+’s built-in support for the microblogging network. The resulting image that is sent via email is heavily compressed, so there is a lot of quality lost — it’s enough for sending by email or social network, but probably not something the user will want to print out.

Frame My Photo certainly does what it sets out to do, but it doesn’t really do enough to warrant being a dedicated app — there are plenty of other, far better photo manipulation apps that incorporate adding frames as just part of their functionality. As a free app, its simplistic nature is easy to forgive, but as the developer seems to intend to make it a paid app at some point in the future, there really needs to be more to it to warrant putting a price on it — not to mention the apparent issues with Facebook connectivity that need resolving. Alternatively, the developer could perhaps look at monetizing through in-app purchases for additional frame designs and shapes — this will encourage users into the app in the first place with the lack of a “price of admission,” but still provide the potential to make some money. Regardless of the monetization strategy Unity Apps chooses to adopt in the future, Frame My Photo really needs a bit more meat on its bones before it can justify any sort of monetization, and it needs its social functionality fixing before it can be recommended in good conscience.

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

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