Meerkat could be on to a real winner with its new video chat app Houseparty

meerkat houseparty app
A wise woman once said: “If at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again.” It seems former tech media darling Meerkat has heeded Aaliyah’s advice, bouncing back with a new app after losing the live-streaming battle to Twitter’s Periscope and Facebook Live.

Instead of resigning itself to its fate, Life on Air (the company behind Meerkat) has spent the past 10 months secretly developing a new video-oriented app, and it appears to have also built a sizable audience along the way.

Its latest offering is Houseparty, a video chat app that ditches public broadcasts for private group chats. Houseparty allows users to create and join groups (referred to as “rooms”) with up to eight participants at a time. You can switch between an unlimited number of rooms by simply swiping across the screen.

Despite reports emerging in March that Meerkat itself would be rebranded as a video social network, Houseparty is a standalone app. Meerkat is still up and running, with Life on Air previously claiming it continues to attract a notable audience, but it is losing creators to its heavyweight rivals. That’s been the case since Twitter snapped up fellow live video app Periscope shortly after witnessing the buzz surrounding Meerkat at SXSW last year. Facebook soon followed suit with its own mobile live-streaming offering in the shape of Facebook Live. The rest as they say is history.

The emergence of Houseparty gives its parent company a new lease on life. The media spotlight that hyped up Meerkat has deliberately been avoided this time around, with Life on Air developing the app under a pseudonym, reports The Verge.

You’d think a lack of publicity would work against Houseparty, but that doesn’t seem to be the case, thanks to an acute sense of its target demographic. The new app has taken the organic route adopted by the likes of Snapchat and Down to Lunch, offering little info as to how to navigate its product, and marketing it toward college students. A quick glance at its website shows that it even has a merchandise section stocked with items aimed at younger users, including a sweatshirt scrawled with the millennial slang term “thirsty,” and a t-shirt emblazoned with styrofoam cups. As a result, Houseparty has garnered 1 million users in less than a year.

If it can convert its initial success into a sustainable social platform and build upon its current user numbers, then this could turn out to be a comeback story for the ages. Houseparty is available now for iOS and Android.

Mobile

Google confirms Allo chat app will shut down in 2019

Another day, another messaging app reportedly shutting down. Following reports of Google Hangouts shutting down, Google Allo might be next. While Google has yet to confirm, the tech giant may be putting an end to the chat app soon.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Twilight Zone’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Emerging Tech

Feast your eyes on the wildest, most elaborate Rube Goldberg machines ever built

Want to see something totally mesmerizing? Check out several of the best Rube Goldberg machines from across the internet, including one that serves cake and other that do ... nothing particularly useful.
Computing

Our favorite Windows apps will help you get the most out of your new PC

Not sure what apps you should be downloading for your newfangled Windows device? Here are the best Windows apps, whether you need something to speed up your machine or access your Netflix queue. Check out our categories and favorite picks.
Mobile

New Apple Watch begins saving lives one week after getting EKG feature

The Apple Watch Series 4 was updated almost a week ago with a new feature that allows users to take electrocardiogram tests -- and already it seems like the new feature is saving lives.
Mobile

The best smartphone stocking stuffers for a very techy Christmas

If you've got a tech-loving smartphone enthusiast to buy for, we can help you out. Here's a selection of top phone accessories that would make amazing stocking stuffers so you can have a very Merry Christmas.
Product Review

The Black Shark gaming phone takes a big bite out of your free time, but the software sinks it

The world is being treated to an ever-increasing number of high-powered gaming phones. With so many great options already out, is there room for another? The Black Shark thinks so. But is it any good? We find out.
Mobile

OnePlus's 5G phone should arrive in May 2019, may cost up to $850

OnePlus will be among the first companies to put the new Snapdragon 855 processor into a phone, and will also release a separate and more expensive 5G phone in 2019 with the help of U.K. network EE.
Mobile

Santa Claus is coming to town. Get ready with these Christmas apps

Like it or not, Christmas comes but once a year. Thankfully, we've got a list of the best Christmas apps to help get you into the holiday spirit, just in case you want to call Santa or become a Christmas elf.
Gaming

Xiaomi’s Gamepad 2.0 turns the Black Shark into a mini Switch

Chinese phone manufacturer Xiaomi has introduced the Gamepad 2.0 for its Black Shark gaming phone that launched earlier this year. The new gamepad is similar to the Switch Joy-Con, with one piece attaching to each side of the phone.
Mobile

Google makes it easy to donate to charity straight through the Play Store

As we head into the holiday season, Google announced a new feature on Google Play that makes it a little easier to donate to charity. Through the new page, you'll be able to choose from a range of charities to donate to.
Deals

REI clearance sale extends discounts on Garmin, Fitbit, and GoPro devices

Beyond the things you typically expect to find at REI — like tents, skis, and jackets — there are tons of great deals on quality tech foryour outdoor adventures. From smartwatches to action cameras, here are the best tech deals.
Wearables

These are the best smartwatches for everything from fashion to fitness

Tempted to buy a smartwatch? If so, then the growing number of great models available means you've got plenty to choose from. But which one should you pick? Here is our list of the best smartwatches.
Mobile

Sprint’s 5G rollout: Everything you need to know

Sprint is building its next-gen 5G network in preparation for a 2019 rollout, but it's taking a decidedly different approach than some of its competitors, including Verizon and AT&T. Here's everything you need to know.