Sony has launched a new photo-sharing service for Android phones that stores all data locally on users' handsets, in an attempt to ease the privacy concerns that come with online services.
The company's new "Post shot" app creates photo albums that are shared between two users, with photos and messages automatically replicated between their smartphones. Two users create a new album by launching the app on their phones when physically near each other and registering each other as friends.
"This app is focused on one-to-one sharing," said company spokesman Shinji Obana. "Sony is using new forms of communications enabled by mobile devices."
While services like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, recently acquired by Facebook, are popular in Japan, many in the country are still wary of publicly posting photos and information that reveal their identity. Services like the group chat program Line have recently gained users because they largely limit interactions to friends and acquaintances in the real world.
The app became available Wednesday on the Google Play Store free of charge. Currently it is only available in Japanese, and the company has yet to make plans for an international launch, Obana said.
Post shot also allows text messages and heart icons to be attached to shared images, which are sorted and displayed by date. Photos taken using the camera function within the app are automatically shared in real time. Photos stored in a phone's memory can also be sent to an album.
The app allows up to 20 albums to be created, and multiple albums can be shared between the same two users. It has no cloud or server component for saving or viewing the photos.
The app requires no Sony hardware or services to run. It is separate from the company's growing suite of online services, including PlayMemories, which is designed to allow users to easily share photos between different devices.