Instagram Rival Mobli Is Being Pushed Out To Millions Of Devices

Image via Mobli

It seems as though Instagram’s rival, Israeli startup Mobli, is picking up steam quickly with the help of Latin American phone carrier, America Movil, run by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim Helu. Through Mobli’s connection to American Movil, it was able to be pushed out to dozens of thousands of users when the carrier pre-installed the app on its smartphone devices.

In its first month with American Movil, Mobli has already acquired 5 million active users. And that number will surely increase: American Movil has plans to gradually rollout Mobli to its 60 million smartphone subscribers.

On the same day that Mobli announced a $60 million funding round, to which American Movil made a substantial investment in. The carrier downloaded the app into thousands of phones inside of its “Ideas” folder. It prompted users to register for Mobli via SMS.

We need to do it in a smart way,” Mobli CEO Moshi Hogeg told Forbes, regarding a gradual rollout versus a massive rollout.

Sooner or later [the feature phone subscribers] are going to have a smartphone, and when they do they’ll have already had a history with Mobli,” he added.

Hogeg also denied that American Movil was forcing users to subscribe, saying that that it was merely “suggesting” it.

Mobli has had the good fortune of having celebrity endorsements even before it joined American Movil. Some of its investors include Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, and Serena Williams.

DiCaprio has said that he’s “always been excited by Mobli’s mission to connect people around the world through shared visual images. Today’s announcement means that a massive new community of users will be introduced to an incredible experience of discovery and sharing.”

After I downloaded Mobli and connected it to Facebook, I was surprised to see that a good amount of my friends already had Mobli installed. Not only that, but the interface was interesting as well. Although I still find Instagram more simple and easy to navigate, there’s something oddly appealing about Mobli. As I scrolled through popular posts, the setup looked more like Tumblr than anything else, not to mention that the side-scroll feature, as little of an addition as it may seem, makes all the difference in the viewing experience. With Instagram, after you’ve viewed a picture, you have to essentially “backspace” to view the next. Being able to see the amount of views on a picture is also a neat addition to the Instagram-like app.

Currently Mobli has 12 million active users, but Hogeg says he expects that number to double by the first quarter of 2014.