Smartr, the social news reading service launched in October of 2011, will be shutting its doors as its creators focus their attention elsewhere. Founders Temo Chalahasi and Marc Provost of Factyle Inc. are also the creative team behind Cinemagram, a new iPhone app which debuted in the App Store in February. In an email to Smartr users, Chalahasi said that the team would be “moving on to new things,” and as a result is “unable to support [Smartr's] continued development.” Provost told BetaKit that the decision is in fact directly tied to the success of Cinemagr.am, and the team’s inability to devote sufficient resources to both products.
“We’ve decided to concentrate on Cinemagram. We’re saddened to shut down Smartr, it was a big part of our life,” Provost said. “But with Cinemagram taking off, it became clear that we didn’t have the ressources and time to maintain it, unfortunately.”
Smartr provided an interesting take on what’s become the standard newsreader app model by introducing a social interaction layer that let users follow others on Smartr, and share their thoughts via in-app blog posts. As an app, Smartr had plenty of competition to contend with, including market leaders like Flipboard and Zite, so it’s not too surprising that it faced a challenge in terms of attracting enough interest to become a sustainable venture for the Factyle team.
Cinemagram, on the other hand, offers a much more unique experience that capitalizes on the success of photo sharing apps like Instagram but adds simple, GIF-based animations to introduce motion to a user-selected portion of the image. Cinemagram has been a top-selling app in the iPhone App Store since its launch, and the Factyle team’s time is likely much better spent continuing to iterate that product and inject it with the kind of feature and usability updates that have helped Instagram stay fresh despite the introduction of countless competitors.
Smartr will officially close its days March 15, and the company is providing data retrieval upon request for users who’d like to archive their cumulative Smartr information.