What Cheer abuzz with Bumble, a home phone app for children
Bumble, a web app specifically created for children to make safe phone calls to pre-approved contacts. Image courtesy of Alex P. Gates via Flickr.
Alex Gates, a developer at the web design studio, had been working on a way for his young children to make calls to their grandparents using a simple web interface, something so simple it would soon be seen as home's "regular phone." (Left, photo from twitter.com/alexpgates.)
With the July 26 release of Twilio Client, a set of developer tools that opens an "audio pipe" from a web or mobile app, Gates said this was just what they were looking for to start Bumble.
"We've always been big fans of Twilio; their services are really impressive, easy to use and affordable," Gates said in an email yesterday. "Twilio Client was the missing piece to this puzzle, as soon as I heard about this new service, I knew it was a perfect fit."
With Bumble, parents do the leg work by signing up the account, adding contacts and installing the service. Children have it simple: open, click on the contact and talk.
"We figured a nicely designed interface for children could be put together so even young children could understand how to use it," Gates said.
As opposed to other VoIP apps, Bumble allows child users to call only specific groups of numbers, or Hives, that have been pre-approved by the parent on the Bumble account. The Hives protect wrong numbers, telemarketers or strangers from connecting with Bumble accounts.
New users are given 10 free credits to try Bumble upon registration. One credit gives the user one minute of call time. As users continue chatting, credits can be purchased, 100 for $5 or 1,000 for $40, and What Cheer takes a markup on the "per minute" cost from Twilio to pay for Bumble expenses.
Children view this interface that displays contacts from their Hive to place calls using Bumble. Image courtesy of Alex Gates via Flickr.
Parents use this dashboard to purchase calling credits, manage hives, and view logs of calls made by their little Bumble. Image courtesy of Alex P. Gates via Flickr.
At the time of the Twilio Client release, Twilio issued a two-week long Twilio Client Developer Contest. Without skipping a beat, What Cheer had Bumble ready for flight for the August 7 deadline, working evenings and weekends to complete the first launch. Gates said decisions were made on the fly for the initial release, but so far, no stingers.
The five winners of the Twilio contest will be announced at the end of this week but in the meantime, Gates said the team will be ironing out the user experience, exploring different subscription models and using user feedback to improve Bumble's service. Plans to include international and incoming calls are also in the future for the web app.
Also, when Gate's said he's a "big fan" of Twilio, he really means it. Last week, Gates proved his enthusiasm for the service as he not only helped What Cheer welcome its first product to the world, but he simultaneouly welcomed a newborn son (and likely future Bumble user) to the world with a Twilio app he built to share the news with family and friends. Congratulations to the Gates family!
A tweet from Gates showing his love for Twilio. Screenshot from twitter.com/alexpgates