Bump Goes Back to Basics

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When Bump debuted on Apple’s iPhone App Store in March 2009, it was one of the apps that helped to define the iPhone. It let you transfer contact info with another iPhone owner by bumping your phones together, a clever idea that made it among the most-downloaded apps of all time.

Little by little, Bump’s creators began to add other features that could be initiated with a bump, including photo, video and music sharing. When I chatted with cofounder Jake Mintz last year, he spoke expansively of bumping as an action that could be useful in all sorts of activities, almost as if it were a basic form of human communication.

But the big news about the streamlined new version of Bump that the company is releasing for iOS and Android today isn’t that it’s adding new features. Actually, it’s stripping them away in search of simplicity. The new Bump has dumped all forms of sharing except contacts and photos, the two types that its found to be most popular. It’s almost as if they pressed a rewind button on the whole concept.

Bumping is still fun, and it’ll be interesting to see where Mintz and his colleagues take their brainchild now that they’re reconsidering its place in the world. The not-unimportant question “How do these guys make money as this?” remains unanswered, but perhaps they have a strategy in mind, and just aren’t quite ready to share it.