Second screen app Boxfish takes its TV-guide-killing self to the iPhone

iphone boxfishToday, second screen TV app Boxfish is launching its iPhone app. In August, Boxfish debuted its iPad app, which is essentially a means for helping users break out of the dysfunctional excel spreadsheet called TV guide we currently deal with.

The idea around Boxfish is to capture every word spoken on television along with Twitter trends to create an interactive, customizable platform for browsing and controlling what’s on television. The control function is literal: The app connects with your cable box to change the channel to your selected content (provided you’re using one of Boxfish’s partners – whose ranks are growing).

Boxfish CEO Eoin Dowling tells me the iPhone app essentially functions like the iPad app, with some aesthetic exceptions (screen size related, generally). “It’s a much more focused experience,” he says, adding you get the same set top box control as you do with the iPad app.

The team quietly rolled out the iPhone app last week, and already received plenty of user feedback and reactions. “Session usage is already spiking,” says Dowling. “People just use it more than the iPad – our findings show that people are in a ‘learn forward’ experience with the iPad, and the iPhone works better in ‘lean back’ mode.”

Insights to user behavior aren’t limited to the iPhone, however. Since the launch of Boxfish’s iPad app, the team has made plenty of changes to the tablet version as well. “We’ve moved to a tile UI that constantly updates your topics and channels,” says Dowling. “It’s a much more visual and simple navigation and discovery UI.”

“We found that even though there was a huge, highly active segment that were searching, the majority were making much more use of the ‘favorites’ [category],” he tells me. “We found that people just want to know what’s on. The majority just want a lean back experience.” He says Boxfish is moving more in this direction, while continuing to offer up the option of interactivity, but also becoming a passive app that serves as a background tool.

Change in Boxfish’s dynamic isn’t limited to its product: The team picked up Instagram designer Tim Van Damme for its board, and if there’s anything to be said about Instagram, it’s a heightened attention to aesthetics. “Tim’s all about the simple details. If there’s one thing he’s brought to the experience it’s the focus on simplicity. We’ve spent the last year building a monster technical and data-heavy platform; it’s been immense to have someone with such vast product experience to come in with fresh eyes and a laser focus on the user.”

Today’s iPhone app launch also brings with it Boxfish’s new AT&T integration, and the startup has a handful of other partnerships in the works. Also on the roadmap? The Android app. Dowling says the platform’s fragmentation would have made for a poor user experience at launch and the team is choosing to wait on a release. For now, you can check out Boxfish for iOS, available in the App Store today

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