Japan’s Mixi motivated for mobile with these 6 apps


Back in August, we wrote about Japanese social network Mixi and its Nohana photobook app. The service has seen rapid growth and was recently spun off as a wholly-owned subsidiary.When it comes to mobile apps, Mixi is taking a somewhat experimental approach with its Mixi Lab initiative. So we thought that it might be fun to take a look at the list of apps that the company has in line for us.

At first glance, the following list of mobile apps doesn’t seem to indicate any unifying strategy. But having been the dominant social network in Japan for so long before Facebook and Twitter came along, Mixi really has lots of information about online communities. And thus, Mixi is now in a unique position to create many apps around those long established communities. In fact, there are over 2.7 million such communities registered on the social network, and some of its mobile apps can be thought of as being natural extensions of these. Read on to learn more about them!


NohanaNohana is a photo booklet printing service. Users receive one photo booklet for free (90 yen shipping cost not included) every month, and a second booklet on can be purchased for 500 yen per book. Last month, Mixi revealed that the total number of uploaded photos amounts to 3.8 million, and there have been 100,000 photobooks published by 200,000 people.


Spinan is the very first game app by Mixi, hitting the market today. It is a simple card game that works very similar to solitaire. In the given time of 90 seconds, your goal is to get rid of as many cards as possible. The results are not measured just by wins and losses, but it calculates the number of mistouches and the amount of time left, making the game more complex and addictive.


PlannaThe most common place that mobile users go to look back on their photos is their photo library. But the more photos you take, more of a mess you make. Plannah can be a convenient app because it allows you to see your photos in albums. They can be organized by dates or themes, or be shared with selected friends.


PiqColePiqCole is a neat iOS app that lets you create photo albums as folders on your mobile home screen. The idea here was to create a service for moms that can be used daily. Just tap on the icon on your home screen and you can access your kids photos instantly. You can see how simple the app is in the video below.


CheeringCheering is an app that — as the name suggests — encourages you by cheering. Users can chose a photo and a phrase, and every time they open the app, perhaps your dog or a friend or significant other will cheer you up. This was a little playful item that the team at Mixi created, and it was later made into this app. You can learn more about it in this interview on the Mixi blog.


CoscamConsidering that there are many young people on Mixi, it’s only natural for the company to have a large community dedicated to cosplay culture. Coscam is an app made especially for this segment that lets users print name cards on their mobile phones. There are over 30 design themes available and you can print ten cards for 300 yen. The app can be used without user registration.


Minimo is Mixi’s most recent app planned for release this fall, serving to match up hairdressers with models. Many hairdressers needs to practice haircutting with real people. Back in the old days, they used to find their models in the streets, since lots of regular people might be willing to get a hair cut for free. This activity of searching for ‘Cut models’ is one of the most actively used communities on Mixi – so popular that it seems that the company decided to spin it off as a standalone app.