A new smartphone app that mainly caters to bashful Asian lovers has recorded a million downloads since its launch and developers are now eyeing new markets.
Couples unwilling to share their relationship with the world through Facebook or other social media have flocked to sign up for ‘Between’, an intimate app designed for just the two.
“Imagine how stressful it would be if your boss followed you on Twitter, or parents added you on Facebook…Between is the new solution for such pressure,” the Daily Telegraph quoted one of the South Korean developers, Park Jae-Uk, as saying.
‘Between’, available on iPhones and Android-equipped models, offers privacy for couples who want to swap photos, messages, schedules and short voice messages via smartphone.
Developers say some 4.6 million messages and 350,000 pictures are exchanged daily.
Between was also adjudged Best Mobile App of the year at a competition for new global ventures in Amsterdam.
“Facebook and Twitter may do a good job in connecting people in all sorts of ways but we thought maybe some people want a closed and private relationship,” Park, whose VCNC company runs the app, said.
“So we turned our eyes to unmarried couples who need such a private relationship platform more than any other groups,” Park said.
‘Between’ allows them to share photo timelines, send messages and mark anniversaries, birthdays and other dates on each other’s calendars.
Connection to the service is initiated once both parties enter each other’s phone numbers after registering.
If a couple breaks up, one of them may disconnect the service and all the data would be deleted.
“No matter how hard you try to conceal information on other social networking services, it still seems like they are wide open…so we decided to base our appeal on how tightly closed and protected our service is,” Park said.
The application is password-protected and is not available to more than two people at any one time.
‘Between’ is available in 13 languages including Korean, English and Japanese. Currently it mainly targets Asian users because of their culture of keeping their intimate relationships to themselves.
The app has about 75 percent of users who are Koreans, 7 percent Chinese and 6 pe cent Japanese.
“I take a lot of photographs with my boyfriend and needed an exclusive space to share them by phone,” said 23-year-old Hong Jee-Won.
Another user, Jun So-Min, said Facebook “is way too public, so to keep a record of private content like photos and messages, I use Between.”
Park is now looking for growth in Europe and the United States by tailoring the service.
“The culture is a little different in Europe and the US, so we will try to cater to long-distance couples or engaged couples getting ready for marriage,” he said.
Currently, 79 percent of ‘Between’ users are single and 96 percent of all users are in their 20s to mid-30s.
“Between in a way represents a commitment made by couples, so we rarely see teenagers using the service…their relationship usually doesn’t last long enough to take full advantage of it,” said Park.
VCNC’s engineers plan to develop a system, which backs up data for up to one month after a breakup, just in case lovers decide to reunite and reopen their accounts.
“Think of it as an adjustment period for couples,” said Park, adding that users quite often complain when data is deleted under the current system.