Reddit has let others do the heavy lifting for it on the mobile side for years, developing apps that often do more — and better — than its own client, which the company abandoned long ago. Arguably one of the best, and certainly the most popular, is Alien Blue on iOS, which existed both as an iPhone app and a specialty app for the iPad. Now Reddit's gone and acquired it, along with developer Jason Morrissey, who is joining the company to continue working on it.
"We believe our communities are interested in multiple ways to experience reddit."
Importantly, Reddit says that the acquisition doesn't mean an end to other third-party apps. "We're also continuing to work with other third-party app developers and will continue to do so, because we believe our communities are interested in multiple ways to experience reddit," the company said in a post announcing the move. "In the past six months, we've improved our API, added OAuth for apps, and added gold features to help build our mobile developer ecosystem."
One wrinkle is that Alien Blue has a paid "pro" component, and its iPad version has cost money up front. The software, which was redesigned for iOS 8 back in August, has been relaunched as an entirely new app, with Reddit offering to let existing users upgrade for free over the next week until it begins charging again. As part of the change, user privacy settings are not syncing over, though there's a built-in tool to transfer them over manually.
Reddit's move comes a month after the company debuted a slick new app for reading Ask Me Anything posts, which are frequently done by celebrities and other persons of interest. That app, which came out on iOS then Android, was designed to help people filter through the comment threads, which could be thousands of replies long. The big question now is whether the company will take a similar track with Alien Blue and bring it over to Android, where it's never been.