Over the past few years, Autodesk has brought a variety of notably good apps for both Android and iOS, including the famed Pixlr Express, Pixlr-o-matic, AutoCAD 360, Sketchbook Mobile, and a variety of others. Joining the developer’s remarkable arsenal is Autodesk Instant, a group chat client aimed at workplaces and corporate clients, available on both Android and iOS. We’ll take a deeper look at it right after the jump.
The recently released app speaks elegance from the get go, providing a neat clean interface that very much conforms to the “Halo” theme that apps took since Ice Cream Sandwich. However, that’s also where the weird stuff begins. You see, Instant is predominantly like WhatsApp and Viber, because it requires a phone number to get you started (and registered), and at least at this point, the app works with only US-based mobile numbers (you get a confirmation text). Hence, if you’re based anywhere else, you’re pretty much out of luck at least at this point.
The next step is to create your profile, which basically includes your full name and work email address. This also brings me to my second beef with Instant – if you were able to link it with a Google Account, it would’ve made a lot more sense from the perspective of workplace usage, since a lot of organizations utilize Google Apps for this purpose. However, Autodesk Instant’s contact handling remains restricted to your address book, and so you’ll be able to communicate with people that you already have in your list.
Now comes the good part. The app is basically aimed at not individual conversations (not that it isn’t possible), but rather towards group communication and the likes of virtual (text-based) Town Halls. You can create groups for individual projects, teams, communities etc, and broadcast messages comprising text, images, video clips and even location. Then, should you need to make a more personal conversation, calls can be initiated directly from within the app. The best part is that since contacts are linked through phone numbers, the messages will go out to even those individuals who don’t have Instant installed.
One might ask why have this app when you already have email, Google Hangouts and even WhatsApp. The biggest advantage of having Instant (which is its biggest shortcoming as well, ironic as it may be), is that the app communicates through mobile phones. Not everyone will be checking email all the time (and push really destroys your battery), but you can bet they will always have cellular coverage. Hence, it becomes highly useful to share quick updates, meeting locations, images for a given project etc. Every other solution either requires a certain app to be installed or setting configured, but Instant just works.
Autodesk Instant is available for free at the Google Play Store, and will work on any Android phone running Gingerbread (2.3) or above.