We first looked at live music service Pepper earlier this year at a previous WPUG event. The app and backend service impressed us with the variety of features available, as well as how unique the functionality is in a package we've yet to see elsewhere. Exclusively available for Windows Phone, we enjoyed having the Pepper team on-board pushing the platform further with continued support. We've now got word that an imminent update is on its way, as well as apps for both Windows 8 and the iPhone.
The service is for music fans who frequently attend (or simply check out) nearby venues and live events, making it easier to locate said events that match user interests. Pepper doesn't just stop there though as the app sports a full community. Creating an account (which takes a matter of seconds) unlocks all features, including friend lists and the ability to follow venues and artists to keep on top of when the next event is.
There's a large emphasis on interaction with other Pepper users. Upcoming events can be shared with friends to build a strong presence for an arguably more enjoyable evening. While at events, Pepper users can check-in (Twitter and Facebook supported) and subsequently share photos and comments with other users. The fundamental goal is to make live music a more socially connected experience.
Pepper makes it simple to enjoy music
So what's on the horizon for Pepper with the Windows Phone update and upcoming apps on other platforms? We got hold of David Hamilton (see our previous interview), Pepper CTO, at the Bournemouth developer event and have received some details recently that shed light on what we can expect to see in the next version.
The team have been working hard on making the app quicker through efficiency improvements and optimisation, use less data (though this isn't an issue in the current version), and look more appealing with a new look and feel being implemented. The in-app search facility is set to be an improved experience, and a tutorial will be added for users to get accustomed to the recommendation system, which will be launching soon.
Full Facebook and Twitter integration will be present that will take mere check-in functionality to the next level. Artists can be followed through these services, and events can be added to calendars for friendly reminders. We've also been made aware of an interesting feature that will be included in the next version - users will be able to decide how obsessed they are with favourites. It sounds like a fairly sizeable update, and one we look forward to downloading.
iPhone app on the way
As well as a large Windows Phone update in the works, the Pepper team have been working hard to bring support to Apple's mobile platform. While this isn't huge news for Windows Phone Central and we believe not many readers will be affected by this news, it's great to see a project that started on Windows Phone make its way onto competing platforms. We've been informed that features present in this iPhone app at launch will be noticeably less rich than its Windows Phone counterpart - a nice touch.
We'll be sure to pass on further information we receive on the iPhone app to our brothers and sisters at iMore, so be sure to keep an eye on their feed should you be interested in Pepper arriving on iOS, or simply register your interest on the official website to be notified on its availability (as well as Android and BlackBerry).
Windows 8 also to sport some Pepper
The news of Pepper coming to Windows 8 is no surprise to us, considering it was born on Windows Phone and makes use of Microsoft cloud services, but it's certainly superb news for the app to be able to take full advantage of the larger display. Ubelly, a Microsoft blog, managed to probe David on the developments of the Windows 8 app. It's well worth the read. It's reported to be in the final stages of testing, and will be released in the Windows Store for the launch of Windows 8.
What can we expect in the desktop / tablet version of Pepper? All the features and functionality from the Windows Phone app on a larger scale with full Windows support. Unfortunately US support is still quite a way off, but we can reveal the Pepper team are working flat out to be able to cover the states as well.
If you haven't already checked Pepper out on Windows Phone, you can download it from the Marketplace for free (limited to region availability).