Exclusive: Aviary Launches iPad Extensions Today, Keeps on Pivoting

In a continuation of its pivot away from Flash, Aviary, the New York-based multimedia editing start-up, is launching an iPad SDK and several new API extensions today.

If the Aviary name rings a bell, you might be more familiar with the company’s last round of products, which brought Adobe-style media editing programs into the Web browser via — you guessed it — loads of Flash.

Though the SDK products are a huge departure from the company’s direction over the last three years, CEO Avi Muchnick said: “The overall goal has been about democratizing creativity — that hasn’t changed.”

But just about everything else has.

Muchnick said Aviary would no longer be actively adding to their impressive Flash-based editing suite, which includes tools for images, vector graphics and audio, among other things.

Today, rather than hoping you’ll drop an image into their in-browser editor, Aviary makes tools for iOS and Android app developers.

Specifically, Aviary’s kit allows app makers to quickly add image editing features like cropping, red-eye removal and filters into their existing iPhone, Android, and, now, iPad apps.

And as of today’s launch, Aviary’s iPad interface will be available in the Pic Collage iPad app, as well as inside an update to Flickr Studio, a third-party iPad app built on Yahoo’s Flickr API.

The turn-key image editing tools have a look and feel somewhere between Apple’s iOS itself and the old Aviary Flash apps.

But Muchnick is eager to please the new app developer partners Aviary is hoping to win.

“One of my goals was to make this customizable to fit the partner,” he said. “[Partners] can change colors to match their app, or grab just the features they want.”

The new focus on partnerships seems to be moving along well enough.

Aviary claims that mobile and API users edited over a million images last month, and the company has brought on former Microsoft Office’s Paul Murphy to be their VP of business development.

Prior to its new direction, Aviary had raised about $11 million total, most recently from Spark Capital and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

Aviary is yet another company abandoning Flash, after Apple and Steve Jobs declared it persona non grata for iOS devices.

The company has cut virtually all of its Flash developers and hired mobile developers to build up its SDK offerings.

Massive organizational and directional shifts are tough on any start-up, but Muchnick says that the new direction is really not that at all.

“Aviary doesn’t need to be a destination anymore,” he said. “We want to power all the photo creativity that happens online, and apps are how that will happen.”


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