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Particle, the company that claims to “make massively small products that shorten the distance between the internet and awesome,” is launching its Android application today. It can be downloaded here: lets users share 4-second video status updates — without sound but with captions — from their mobile phone, and also syncs their profile with mobile address book contacts. launched in May 2009 as a web application with social network integration, including Flickr and Facebook. This is the first mobile application for the company, which was focused more on translating the web onto mobile devices than dealing with the fragmented app market, according to co-founder and CTO Aubrey Anderson.

The mobile integration allows for such functionality as Mood Ring, which displays a caller’s most recent video update as they are calling (the caller must be a user, and both users must have Android handsets for this to work), and Pre-Flight Information, which allows a user to see the latest status updates of a person before calling, texting, or emailing them. The Android app also lets users record and instantly publish video clips from their phone. The decision to launch its first mobile app on Android (rather than the iPhone) was driven by a number of factors, the company said. It said Android gave it some technical advantages, allows for easier brand differentiation, doesn’t have the review hassles of iPhone apps, and is a rapidly-developing ecosystem.

Both the web application and the newly launched Android application are free to use. Anderson said the goal is to eventually associate brands with, allowing users to create content from within retail stores around a brand or location. For example, an ice cream retailer could be associated with all user status updates showing people eating ice cream, or shoppers in retail stores could post videos showing them buying a specific product. Video streams around this theme as well as brand links would be included on a branded page. I can’t really envision how this brand-association would work, but it sounds like the company is still quite far away from adding that piece of the puzzle, so they should have time to work out the details. has over 50,000 users, with 300-500 new users a day and 2,000-3,000 new pieces of content posted per day (either new video clips or responses to existing clips). Because 4 seconds is such a short time to relay information, most videos posted are simple status updates, with users waving or showing a product briefly, such as their lunch. In addition to allowing a person to have their own video stream of status updates on the website and within the mobile app, is a simple way to add some context to text status messages, such as those posted on Twitter or Facebook, in the form of a video. plans to add additional mobile platforms, including iPhone and Palm, in the coming year or so. It said it would like to get on as many mobile platforms as possible.

Particle was founded by Anderson, Cole Rise and Ericson deJesus in March 2008. Other products in the Particle portfolio include Crusher, a way to send online invitations, and OpenSmirk, which lets users create video avatars to put alongside photo uploads. The company is headquartered in San Francisco, Calif. Although there are not many companies focused on video status updates, 12Seconds does something similar, albeit with 12 second status updates on the web. Particle is privately held and did not want to disclose funding, but it did receive funding from Tennman Digital, the technology development arm of Tennman Enterprises, in October 2009, as well as from singer Justin Timberlake.

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