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Sponsored App Review: Beanbag

March 21, 2016 - Written By Tom Dawson

Beanbag is a new social network app for Android that aims to bring likeminded people together in small groups. Rather than focus on the sharing of pictures or videos, Beanbag is about bringing people together to chat and organize meetups or events around very specific topics. It’s a way to cut through all of the noise that’s out there and ensure that people looking to talk about a specific subject or idea can do so without interruptions. Each of these groups is called a Beanbag and they’re sorted by categories and offer the option of being smaller or larger groups.

First of all, users will need to download Beanbag from the Play Store. Users will need to sign up to Beanbag, which is free and only asks for an email address and a display name, nothing else.

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One thing that I did find a little strange, and perhaps an extra step that didn’t really need to be in there was the fact that a temporary password and a link to change it is sent to your email address, while than allowing users to choose their password from within the app. Still, that doesn’t matter too much.

When first logged in, users will notice the three-pane interface separating Beanbags – essentially groups – Conversations and Members.

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One of the first things you’ll want to do is to create your own Beanbag, which as simple as pressing the plus icon and then choosing a category from the extensive list included.

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When creating a Beanbag, users can also create a small introduction for it, describing what the aim of the group is and who they’re looking for. Sadly though, this is limited to 100 characters. As a big F1 fan and gamer, I might like to create Beanbag like this:

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This is a personal example of what I might use the app for, but a very practical use case might be a Beanbag to organize a car pool.

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When you have a Beanbag going, or are a member of more than one, you’ll not doubt end up with a number of group chats going, which can easily be managed from the Conversations tab.

Beanbag Conversations

Creating a Beanbag is all fine and well, but you can also join them, too. The app allows users to find an appropriate group or Beanbag and then all they need to do is to write a little message and then join the group. In our car pool example, the group has a clear outline of what’s needed, and it should attract the right sort of users.

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Beanbag offers groups a lot of different tools to manage and keep on top of people. For instance, it’s easy to both remove a member from the group as well as pass the group on to someone else to manage, too.

Beanbag Ownership

Everything is fairly straightforward with Beanbag, but there are some odd approaches to things though, too. Such as the the need to use the outdated Gravatar website to even set up a simple profile picture.

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I can see where the potential lies with Beanbag. The idea of simply creating groups for likeminded people or those looking to organize something without getting caught up in all of the noise of Facebook and such makes a lot of sense. Beanbag is the sort of app that will appeal to millenials looking to better organize themselves and find likeminded individuals. This is perhaps because Beanbag has barely gotten off of the ground, and from a one-man band developer, everything has to start somewhere. There needs to be improvements made to the profile images as well as the overall setup procedure. Having said all of that however, there’s a lot that the app does get right; it’s easy to use and doesn’t crash or anything like that, it juse keeps on doing what he promises to do. Over time however, it would be nice to see the app grow and gain some more needed features and extra polish.

Ratings

  • Speed (4/5) - There are no issues with performance, as Beanbag runs nice and quickly, with few issues anywhere to be found.
  • Theme (4/5) - While not the most attractive social network app out there, Beanbag is unoffensive, and certainly looks okay on Android.
  • Features (3.5/5) - The core concept of Beanbag is a strong one, and one that the app delivers well, but with an outdated Gravatar system for profile images. Some more in-depth examples of how the app can be used as well as a tutorial would help new users, too.
  • Overall (4/5) - It certainly needs some work, as the app feels fairly bare right now, but for a first effort, Beanbag has a lot to offer and delivers on its core concept quite well. This is the sort of app that can only get better over time.

Pros

  • Completely free to download and use, with just an email and user ID needed to sign up, no phone numbers or anything else.
  • Allows people from all over the world to create groups and organize things on a level playing field no matter what the interest.
  • Good for those looking to organize something local, as signing up for the app is really easy, and it will show groups based on proximity to yourself, too.
  • No need to have a Facebook, Twitter or Google+ account.

Cons

  • A cleaner setup procedure would streamline things for new users.
  • Easier way to use a profile image would help people feel more at home overall.

Beanbag is an app that’s only just getting started, and there’s little that could stand in its way as it becomes more and more popular. While I do feel that the app could do with a lick of paint here and there, some updated profile images and such the core of Beanbag works, and works well. If you’re tired of having to wrestle with everyone else on Facebook and Twitter to get something organized or find common ground to talk and discuss common interests, Beanbag is the app to try out.

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