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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A new photo-sharing app that spread fast among hip users over the past week mimics a disposable camera on your iPhone — down to the viewfinder.

Driving the news: Dispo, a photo-sharing app co-founded by YouTube star David Dobrik, released a new, invite-only test version of its app less than a week ago and hit TestFlight's 10,000 user limit over the weekend after thousands of downloads in Japan.

How it works: The app takes its concept very seriously. The screen for snapping photos looks like the back of an old-fashioned disposable camera, leaving the user with only one option — turning the flash on and off.

  • There are no other photo editing features.
  • Photos "develop" the next morning at 9 a.m. local time, and users can create various "film rolls" to put them in.
  • Rolls can be shared between users, enabling them to collect photos among friends (or other users) as a social activity. Users can also like and comment on photos.
  • Public shared rolls have also sprung up around various interests, making it possible for users to interact with like-minded people.
  • The original app, currently in the App Store, didn't have these social sharing features.

Between the lines: Dispo's new app is taking users back in time to when photo-sharing apps were simpler and focused on social interactions.

  • Despite starting that way, apps like Instagram and Snapchat have become sophisticated tools for broadcasting polished content.
  • Dobrik, the 24-year-old social media star who got his start on the short video app Vine before moving to YouTube, came up with the idea after seeing his friends using actual disposable cameras at parties (pre-pandemic, of course).

The intrigue: Thanks to the buzz, Dispo is already getting interest from investors and some have even preemptively sent the company term sheets for a Series A funding round, Axios has learned.

What's next: The company is expected to push out the new app in the App Store very soon, and has said it will also release an Android app this year.

Go deeper

Feb 15, 2021 - Technology

Audio takes off during the pandemic

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The mass adoption of wireless headphones and smart devices, combined with people being home all day and not in public spaces, has created a boom for audio — and every big media and tech company is scrambling to claim a piece of it.

Why it matters: The audio boom is milestone for accessibility and a boon to content creators, but it also presents new challenges for content moderation.

24 mins ago - World

India sets new COVID world record as oxygen demand jumps seven-fold

COVID-19 patients being treated with free oxygen at a makeshift clinic in Indirapuram, Uttar Pradesh, India. Photo: Rebecca Conway/Getty Images

India has seen demand for oxygen jump "seven-fold" as the country set a new world record for daily COVID-19 cases on Thursday, per AP.

By the numbers: India's health ministry reported 412,262 new infections, taking the official tally past 21 million, and 3,980 deaths from the coronavirus in the past 24 hours. The official death toll now stands at 230,168. The actual numbers are believed to be much higher.

2 hours ago - World

U.K. sends patrol ships to British island amid fishing dispute with France

The HMS Tamar, one of the two ships deployed to Jersey. Photo: Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images

The United Kingdom's government announced Wednesday it has deployed two Royal Navy patrol vessels to the island of Jersey "as a precautionary measure," as tensions over fishing rights escalate with France.

Why it matters: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement the government took the action to protect Jersey against threats of "a blockade" of French fishing boats at the island, which is off the coast of northwest France.

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