Select your localized edition:

Close ×

More Ways to Connect

Discover one of our 28 local entrepreneurial communities »

Be the first to know as we launch in new countries and markets around the globe.

Interested in bringing MIT Technology Review to your local market?

MIT Technology ReviewMIT Technology Review - logo


Unsupported browser: Your browser does not meet modern web standards. See how it scores »

{ action.text }

You probably have a lot of friends on Facebook, but chances are there are only a few people—and one in particular—that you interact with most in real life.

A new, free app called Pair wants to make it easier to connect with your special someone, whether it’s a significant other, family member, or friend. And while the app—which allows you to share messages, videos, and “kisses” with one other person—may sound a bit silly, it shows there’s still plenty of room for innovating in the increasingly crowded field for social mobile apps.

Stats indicate Pair may be on to something, too: In the first four days since it was released last Friday, it snagged more than 50,000 registered users, who sent over a million messages to each other. And while Pair was eligible for $150,000 in guaranteed funding since it participated in startup incubator Y Combinator’s just-completed winter session, it has also received funding from Dave Morin, CEO of another social mobile app, Path.

Pair began as something else entirely. Aswin Rajendiran, 27, says he and his four cofounders were initially working on software called Maide that could control 3-D CAD tools via the iPad. The founders, all of whom have graduated from or still attend Canada’s University of Waterloo, moved to Mountain View, California, several months ago to develop Maide at Y Combinator. But while they received good feedback for their project, “it wasn’t an everyday-use kind of thing,” Rajendiran says.

While brainstorming new ideas, they started thinking about the difficulty of keeping up communication in long-distance relationships—a problem three of them encountered as they worked to sustain relationships in the wake of the recent move to the United States.

Recognizing that we tend to communicate mostly with just one or two people, and that many of us use a number of methods to communicate with these folks, Rajendiran and his collaborators came up with Pair to simplify and amplify one-on-one connections.

Once you download Pair onto your iPhone (Rajendiran says an Android app will be available in about a week), you invite one other person to use the app with you. After they accept, Pair allows you to send each other messages, videos, photos, simple sketches, and more. There are several interactive features, too, including one called Thumbkiss, which shows a fingerprint when you press on the screen and makes both phones vibrate when you and your partner touch the same part of the display. To keep Pair communication private, the app can be locked with a four-digit code.

4 comments. Share your thoughts »

Credit: Technology Review

Tagged: Computing, apps, social media

Reprints and Permissions | Send feedback to the editor

From the Archives


Introducing MIT Technology Review Insider.

Already a Magazine subscriber?

You're automatically an Insider. It's easy to activate or upgrade your account.

Activate Your Account

Become an Insider

It's the new way to subscribe. Get even more of the tech news, research, and discoveries you crave.

Sign Up

Learn More

Find out why MIT Technology Review Insider is for you and explore your options.

Show Me