You may have seen the new web services that make it easy for anyone to create a lightweight iPhone or Android app, just using drag and drop, text entry and feed URLs. The apps are then hosted for a monthly fee. Those are cool but how about an iPad version? If that’s of interest to you, check out a new service just launched today by a company called Bizness Apps.
Bizness has an iPhone app creation system similar to Widgetbox or Genwi’s iSites (my favorite) but now it lets you create a dynamic and native (not web) iPad app and host it for $39 per month. I tested it out and the Content Management System is easy to use, relatively powerful and rich with features. It’s particularly well suited to restaurants and other small local businesses. Bizness also positions itself well for designer resellers.
Photo galleries, menus, RSS feeds, Twitter streams, Wufoo forms, QR codes, coupons and other features are included. The interface gets a little bit confusing at times (I’m sure I could have gotten used to it) but a live chat is enabled for help and the company will finish creating your app for you at no cost at any time. That surprised me a little – but I suppose if they are signing customers up for recurring payments they can put a touch of labor into a simple design without it being of much consequence.
Once the app is done, Bizness Apps can upload it to iTunes or the Android Marketplace for you under its account, or you can pay the $99 developer account fee to Apple and do it yourself.
Technologies like this represent a fascinating democratization of a new means of communication. The mobile world is a big, beautiful place and I suspect that many small businesses have spent enough time and money on a designed web page that a revamped mobile webpage is less appealing than a lightweight new app.
Presuming that the service is a good deal long run (good customer service, stable etc.) then this represents something the world really needs. It’s an easy way for anyone to get into the iPad app world. Tools like this are to mobile apps what blogging was to publishing. Most blogs may not read like the New York Times, but thank goodness for them (us!) anyway, right? Likewise, lightweight mobile app creation tools may not produce the next award winning design miracle but they could deliver a whole lot of functionality and value to a large number of people.