The selfie, animated emoticons, Facebook timelines, Pinterest boards and Tumblrs are just the tip of the self-expression explosion, which is making content creators out of us all. But for those feeling creative but perhaps a little camera shy, Pocket Avatars offers a refreshing over-the-top free messaging alternative. The app enables people to chat with friends using animated 3D avatars, which serve as alter egos for those not in the mood, or right situation, to put their real face on the screen.
Launched in the U.S. in June, the free app has expanded to more than 33 countries, added 35 new avatars, for a total of 75, and now boasts the option of chatting with multiple people at once with the new group chat feature.
The novel chat app has caught the imagination of cultural favorites: step out as a NCAA football character from schools such as the University of Oregon or UC Berkeley; or a Halloween-oriented character such as a pumpkin or witch. Check out the Halloween-oriented graphic.
Today, the avatars featured in personal messages can smile big and small, blink or wink, raise and lower eyebrows, stick out their tongue and even blow a kiss. Check out some of YouTube’s leading content creators** – from Miranda Sings to Ricky Dillon – channeling their inner avatar.
To get started simply download the app from the Apple iTunes or Google Play Store. When a person is ready to chat they simply select an avatar from the library, point the camera of their smartphone or tablet at their face and talk into it. As a user talks, raises or lowers their eyebrows, moves their head from side-to-side or nods, the avatar reflects their expressions in real time, recording both the audio and facial data. Then users simply share their message, in app, via traditional SMS, email or social channels. Unlike video chat, users do not need to worry about their personal appearance or unveil their location. Pocket Avatars allows users to take on an alternate persona, much like a year round digital Halloween costume!
Since the introduction in June, more than one million avatars have been downloaded. The expanded library of avatars to choose from, including new Halloween themed avatars from Vlad, Dracula and Jackie-O-Lantern, as well as various animals and people, are available for free; others cost just USD 99 cents for unlimited use.
** The featured YouTube creators were sponsored by Intel.