Remember App.net? It’s the ad-free social network that’s made quite a buzz in the last several months, primarily with their unconventional paid subscription-based business model and a developer-friendly API. Yesterday, the network announced that it has a new app of it’s own, called the App.net Passport app, now available for free on the iPhone.
What’s the purpose of this app? Well firstly, this app is not meant to replace the plethora of great apps made by developers using the platform. Instead, the app allows App.net users to browse the directory of iPhone apps available for the network, help find their friends or interesting new people to connect with, and to manage their account profile.
Here’s the most interesting aspect of this app however: New users can also create an App.net account for free. Prior to today’s announcement, new users were only able to sign by an invite from a paid member, when App.net announced a free tier of their service February of this year. App.net said in the official blog posting yesterday, “Our mission has always been to support our developers and give members more choices”, highlighting that as a reason to come out with the app.
I downloaded the app last night and gave it a whirl. It’s pretty basic and simple: You can also update your profile header, avatar, and bio, which a lot of third party apps don’t support yet. One feature I liked about the app was the built-in directory. It shows you apps made for the iPhone and which apps you already have installed. If you don’t have an app installed it will give you the option to go directly to the App Store and download it.
My final word? Overall, my first impression of the app is that it’s a great start for first time users wanting to create an account. There is no other avenue that currently allows you to create a free account. As an existing member, if you already have the Felix or Riposte app then you really don’t need this app because you can get most of it’s features inside those apps.
Here are a few screenshots provided by App.net: