Welcome to Aspen Spaces ~~~~ a super app that brings everyday apps and games right into your chat conversations.
We’ve built a new chat platform that does way more than just chat and works great across iOS, Android, and Web. Aspen Spaces seamlessly integrates multiplayer apps like shared notes, calendars, shopping lists and photo galleries into your conversation. We’re going live today and will be launching a new app on our platform every single week, starting this Thursday!
As an Android user, I’ve always struggled coordinating and communicating with my iOS friends and family. Group chats go green (i.e. use SMS, which is suboptimal) and I have to get everyone else to download compatible apps to share things like photos, events, or shopping lists. Even when all parties have the same app, we still just copy-and-paste or screenshot the important stuff into the text thread. And my experience isn’t unique: the US is almost perfectly divided between iOS and Android users (Statista).
We wanted to build something that can bridge the iPhone/Android divide and bring these core tools like chat, photo sharing, calendar, notes, all under one roof and one account. We launched our first version to our beta testers and realized that these apps were only the tip of the iceberg. Our users wanted us to add a way to read news together, to create playlists with friends, share recipes and basically do more things in a single space. One user even suggested creating a way to record daily personal podcasts that they could share privately with their friends. We saw this as a clear opportunity to bring as many of these experiences to our users as possible. Over the remainder of the summer (and maybe the year!) we’re going to be launching a new app on our platform every week.
We know we won’t be able to build everything ourselves so we’re designing an SDK to bring on outside developers to make their own apps - stay tuned.
To get started all of you have to do is create a “space”, invite some friends, and choose the apps you need. I have several of them. One for myself, where I keep a personal to-do list. Another with my partner, where we keep a shared calendar and shopping list. I have a family space filled with photos and events. Aspen also makes it easy to see all of your calendar events across your spaces.
My friend found the perfect use case for a space when she organized her bachelorette party. She had notes with the logistics of her Airbnb, a shopping list for their groceries, a calendar where she kept track of reservations for their meals out, and a photo gallery for all of the pictures they took during the weekend. She didn’t have to make a new group on WhatsApp, or add everyone’s email to a Google Calendar, or create a new shared photo album, or put everyone in the Airbnb itinerary. Her friends were relieved to have everything in one app!
For the technical folks: under the hood, we deploy each “space app” as an ordinary web app that communicates directly with the native client via message passing. We created our own CRDT-like data structure to allow each app to be collaborative, realtime, and local-first by default. This makes developing full-stack, multiplayer experiences on our platform 10X easier than on iOS, Android, or Web.
We’re going to be launching a lot of new apps and games. Expect a new release every single Thursday. Follow along on Twitter and in the app to try out what we’re building!
Down the road we have plans to open up our SDK to allow anyone to create new space apps for Aspen users — if that sounds interesting to you, please reach out!
If you find yourself dealing with green texts (SMS) in group chats or frequently jumping between apps to stay organized with your family/roommates/partner, then Aspen Spaces is right for you! And if you have an app or feature in mind that would bring joy to your chat, drop a note in this thread (or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org) and we’ll add it to our list for our weekly app roadmap!