Smith Micro and Sprint are introducing the "Avatar Challenge,' an exciting new program designed to cultivate the next generation of digital artists.
"The Avatar Challenge encourages students to tap into their inner artist, empowering them to create characters for Sprint's new Avatar messaging service with Smith Micro's Anime Studio® animation software. From August 1 through October 31, 2014, educators from any accredited secondary school, college or trade school can register for free copies of Anime Studio for themselves and their students. Students can use the software for general animation, and also have the opportunity to enter a nationwide contest designing animated characters that will be viewed by millions of users through the Sprint network."
Official PR on this came out today, including a quote from Sprint:
"Creativity is the root of innovation, and we strive to innovate in everything we do," said Wayne Ward, vice president-business and product development at Sprint. "Working with Smith Micro to showcase the artistic and technical talents of young people will make our new avatar feature within Sprint Visual Voicemail even more exciting. We can't wait to see the creative characters these students come up with."
The Art Institute of Pittsburgh
Hans Westman, Academic Department Chair, Media Arts & Animation, Game Art & Design
"I am excited to know that our students will participate in the SmithMicro "Avatar Challenge" and compete with others across the nation in designing characters for Sprint’s new avatar feature", said Hans Westman, Academic Chair for Game Art & Design and Media Arts & Animation. "The Art Institute of Pittsburgh has a comprehensive college curriculum that teaches art focused skills for both the video game and animation industry. This opportunity presents a perfect way for our students to get involved with an extra curricular project, while in the process enabling them to explore the power and benefits of using Anime Studio in their future careers."
Simon Fraser University
Steve Di Paola, Past Graduate Chair, School of Interactive Arts and Tech, Dir. Cognitive Science Program
"With over 1000 digital media undergrads, Masters, PhDs, Simon Fraser University's School of Interactive Arts and Technology is very excited to be working with Smith Micro. Avatar Challenge is a rare project that combines our students design and animation skills together with very current app / social media design - all with leading industry connections - it is great opportunity for our students."
Cal State University Fullerton
Chuck Grieb, Professor and Area Coordinator for Animation
"Cal State Fullerton is pleased to announce our collaboration with Smith Micro in providing our animation students the opportunity to participate in creating mobile content! Industry relationships are an important part of the educational opportunities we offer at Cal State Fullerton. We are excited about the experience our students will gain learning to use tools to create mobile content and even more thrilled that the content they create has the opportunity to be seen and used by millions of consumers."
interesting but it may take time to pick up traction thru sprint's premium visual voicemail product which is an add on to basic data/service plan. beside the facial recognition features, are there noticeable differences of functionality vs the free INTEL pocket avatar product?
1. There are over 33 million CommSuite client installations and likely growing. Due to revenue sharing arrangements, Sprint has a vested interest to push the product. The "Avatar Challenge" is a a relatively cheap way to do marketing that target secondary school, college and trade school students.
2. Since Smith's AniMates platform can be integrated with other messaging platforms, the growth can be quite fast with the right partnerships. Since the receiver of the message is not required to have the app installed, it should allow for quicker adoption.
3. As for Intel's pocket avatar, there are many situation where looking into the camera while recording a voice mail just isn't practical. In either case, the market is large enough for multiple avatar messaging apps. That market will likely benefit Smith's animation software sales.