Jul 12, 2012

Smartphones@ – Tool for Generating Better Smartphone Screenshots

Update (9/14/16): Smartphones@ is no longer available. We recommend MockUPhone as an easy and effective alternative for generating smartphone screenshots.

When you take a screenshot of an app on your smartphone, it looks so boring, doesn’t it? Before you use that screenshot on your website or blog, you usually want it inside a shiny iPhone or Android body. So now you have to go Googl’ing around for an iPhone image, open one up in Photoshop, lay your guidelines, splice in your screenshot, and export it. Complete pain in the android.

So we built a tool that does all that automagically for you:

We’re calling it "smartphones@" because I suck at naming things (case in point here and here and here), and it’s a quick little experiment out of MailChimp Labs, and we tend not to spend a lot of time naming our labs projects.

Screenshots for iPad, Nexus, and other devices too

If you specify one of the following commands in your subject line, it’ll drop your screenshot into the appropriate device:

Command ==> (Action)

  • iphone (Apple Iphone 4)
  • whiteiphone (Apple Iphone 4 White)
  • ipad (Apple Ipad)
  • wipad (Apple Ipad White)
  • droid (Motorola Droid Bionic)
  • nexus (Google Nexus 7)
  • galaxytab (Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1)
  • galaxynexus (Samsung Galaxy Nexus)

For a full list of the commands you can use in your emails, send a message to smartphones@ and include the word "help" in the subject line, then wait about a minute for our reply.

Portrait or Landscape

It knows if you want the image in portrait or landscape. Here’s a screenshot on a Droid:


And here’s a screenshot taken from an iPad in landscape orientation:


Oh hey, there’s one of those white iPhones:


EXIF Data (for photos, that is)

Sometimes, it can detect your device automatically. When you email us a photograph in .JPG or .TIFF format (again, just a photo–not a screenshot), we can extract EXIF data from the file, then determine which device to use. If we can’t get that information from your photo, we default to the iPhone. To be safe, you can just specify your device in the subject line, though.


Multiple Screenshots

And you can even send multiple screenshots in your email to smartphones@, and it’ll reply with each screenshot wrapped inside that device. I emailed three screenshots of three different apps, and here’s a screenshot of the reply:



Oh wait, I should’ve stuck that inside a white iPhone:



Copyrights and Attribution

We built this for busy bloggers and designers who are sick of photoshopping app screenshots onto devices, and who don’t want to steal photos of devices from other websites. So these devices are photographs that we took in-house, and are available under a Creative Commons license with no requirement of attribution (you’ll see all this in the footer of our emails). Use it. Um–for good, not evil.


Powered by Giant Monkeys

We love the fact that this app uses email as its platform (since we’re an email company and all). In fact, smartphones@ is using our new Mandrill transactional email service to handle both the parsing of your inbound email, then the outbound delivery of our reply.

Will Castillo, our engineer who made smartphones@, had this to say about using Mandrill:

"If it weren’t for Mandrill, this could have been a project of around 600-700 lines of code (maybe more). By using Mandrill’s inbound email handling capabilities, it was less than 190 lines of code (and around two weeks less time). Mandrill allowed me to focus on the meat of the project and take all the stuff regarding email handling (outgoing AND incoming) for granted."


Also see:

  • Pictaculous is a similar "email from your smartphone" kind of app that analyzes color. Snap a photo and email it to colors [at] mailchimp.
  • If you’re a mobile app developer, check out ChimpKit and ChimpBot, our API wrappers that connect your apps to MailChimp’s API.
  • Would you say we have a plethora of mobile apps and mobile email templates?