Social media and the internet connect people instantaneously, but those digital, on-screen messages disappear quickly. Now a new app from Pixinote is designed to change that pattern by giving users a means to capture a photo with a smartphone, add a brief text message and have the photo and message printed out and sent by U.S. Mail to someone special, just like in the old days before email.
The process, which costs $2.50 per mailing and takes about two to seven days to be delivered by the post office, aims to bring back hard copies of photo prints and personal notes that seem to have given way to digital storage on clouds and backup drives, according to Pixinote.
By using Pixinote, friends can easily send personal photos and brief greetings while traveling, working, having their morning coffee or even when someone just pops into their mind. And when the recipient receives the gift through the mail, they can put it up on their refrigerator door or bulletin board to remember the moment, just like they did before digital photos made actual paper prints less convenient.
The idea for the app was inspired by Daniel Kushner, the CEO and co-founder of the company, Pixinote spokeswoman Lillian Kim told eWEEK. Kushner was relaxing with friends in someone's living room about a year ago when he realized that more photo content is stored online and digitally today than is on display in frames and in homes nowadays, she said.
"We don't have as many photos that we set up on our refrigerators and in our living rooms to show who we are relating with," said Kim. With that, Kushner dreamed up the idea for Pixinote, which he saw as a blend between social media and physically mailed postcards and greeting cards. "It's kind of a bridge between online and offline. It feels like social media as you take an image and send it with message via phone, and then it gets sent like a card."
The Pixinote app was launched as a beta version in the fall of 2015 after being built by co-founder and CTO Travis Parker, who is a programmer.
The iOS version of the free app will be officially released out of beta in the next week or so, she said. The company also has an Android beta version, but that version won't be finalized as a standard release until sometime in the future, said Kim. The iOS version is being redesigned with an improved user interface and other features by an outside company before its official launch.
Using the apps, senders can attach a message of up to three brief lines that will be printed and sent along with their photo. Both the photo and printed message are shipped to recipients in a stylish tan envelope that's trimmed with red and blue stripes at the edges, reminiscent of an airmail envelope. Senders are billed once a month for the Pixinote messages that they send. The service is for U.S. mailings only and includes first-class postage.
"The specialness of receiving a message from someone has gotten lost in the digital age," said Kim. "Here they get a beautiful photo message on quality card stock. It is bringing back that specialness."
The company is offering iOS users five free uses of the Pixinote app if they download it after its release in the next few weeks and use the five free notes before the app's official launch on Aug. 25.