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Zapbuddy: A new app that promises to be more than just a chat app.

We get a lot of news for new apps that aim to be targeting the best out there and we seldom get to see something that qualifies to live up to their claims. However, there is a new start up that has left us impressed after quite some time.

Zapbuddy is a new chat app that promises to be more than just a chat app. A tall claim but after reviewing we can see they are off to a good start. Its hard to believe that this is just a very small start up and it is the first ever version of the app to be exclusively featured here on ProPakistani at its launch. This may very well be the first true garage success story coming out of Pakistan.

The team has a solid start with a well designed website, impressive promotional videos on youtube and a very stable, smooth and simple app. Something not common for a small scale startup especially from Pakistan. Not only that, they have got patents filed in US showing they are pretty serious in taking this app a long way and giving it a solid start to be able to compete with the best out there. The details and specs shown by the team are very impressive even for established companies, let alone a start up

We were however left disappointed by the lack of Android version. Something they should have looked out for especially given the high number of android users in Pakistan, but the team has assured that they are working on an android version and should be available soon. We hope they don’t rush it out and not give the feeling of not able to live up to the hype.

So what does zapbuddy do. For a start it is basically a chat app, much like whatsapp, messenger, line and many others that are out there. To distinguish themselves they have added multiple new features that may just be able to click in the market. A feat that is commendable for a small start up.

The main video can be found here and they claim to have a lot of new functionalities on top of a regular chat app. We have taken sometime to review them and the list does happen to be interesting and gets to show how much time the team has taken to plan their product.

The main distinguishing new feature they have is of Augmented Reality. AR has been the most promising feature of 2018 and with many new companies and developers working on it, Zapbuddy seems to have integrated it well into the chat platform and show a new way of using it.

Using Augmented Reality, users can see the locations of other users using their camera and a radar to determine locations. A feature that will come in handy if using maps has not been pleasing. Zapbuddy has also made a clever use of this feature by also able to locate nearest points of interest or even search one for that matter. Beyond that it’s pretty simple and we feel there are much more possibilities through which they can unleash more potential. The team has assured us that there is much more to come in that area.

Up next is the feature of Location and Display Picture Privacy. A feature that can be the most convincing part in our assessment to keep on using this app. The users have the option to set their display pictures differently for different categories of users. The users can set different display picture for users within contact book, different for people outside phonebook who may have your number, different for blocked users and even set a specific picture for a specific selected group of users. This is a feature the team feels is going to be very helpful with more and more people engaging on mobile social media and being more vulnerable to their picture and location privacy. Quite honestly this feature can be of much use to the females in our society who don’t know who might have their number and can see their display pictures on whatsapp etc.

Similar settings are available for location as well. This can come in handy of not exposing the privacy of locations whilst able to share locations with your friends. We feel this is a good take on the exploit by Snapchat in which exposing location can be a very unsafe feature and Zapbuddy lets users have that control back. The detailed video can be found here.

Moving on they have another feature they claim to be unique is that of ‘exceptional notifications’. What is it? It works just like regular custom notifications with one additional distinguishing feature, it lets the user add into exceptions. Essentially what it does it that enables that even if user chats are on silent, the person in exceptions will be able to bypass settings and give the notifications you want. A feature we feel many men in offices will surely like. It’s sadly only limited to the app and cannot work in overall OS. The team says that this is due to OS restrictions and are working to ensure it can be replicated overall as well. We certainly wish them best of luck with that. The video link explaining it can be found here.

Furthermore, there is a neat party piece of Lock Screen functionality. It enables users to lock the app and ability to share their phone thus not allowing friends to see into chats and conversations. Again, like the previous features this is also more in line with users privacy. The video link detailing can be found here.

To further go in line with user privacy, the chat app is end to end encrypted and by the specs we are told by the team, the encryption used is indeed impressive.

This is all in all bundled with a very smooth chat experience that does feel very traditional in nature and we feel very easy shifting over to. The team has given very small attention to details in many aspects, which we will later cover and shows they have not rushed it and taken their time to make it as smooth as possible.

Our verdict after this long review, it frankly seems like a very good and a serious attempt and we cannot tell it is from a startup that no one has heard of before. We will cover more about the team and the company later on, but from what we can tell, it is an unbelievable effort by a small team based right here in Pakistan working in silence, in a basement garage and wanting to make splash in the market. They have been successful in at least living up to the claim of offering more than the traditional chat apps instead of repackaging already very successful products. The specs, small details, stress levels are frankly impressive even for an established company, let alone a startup.

We feel the initial attempt is very strong but still lack lustered by not having an android version and no voice or video calling. This is currently the Achilles heel in the attempt in my opinion. Now only time can tell if they are able to improve on a very strong initial impression or stop here. I personally have a feeling they do look all geared up to impress us again and wish them the best. We will be uncovering more Easter eggs in the app as we explore it further.

More details about the app can be found at www. zapbuddy.com

Technology Magazine Pakistan