mandag 22. mars 2010

DEMO: AppWhirl lets anybody create their own iPhone app

Everybody should have their own app. That’s the basic idea behind AppWhirl, which allows anyone to create an app for the iPhone to broadcast a stream of news and other information in real time.
Mountain View, Calif.-based AppWhirl is announcing a new app-creation tool at the DEMO Spring 2010 conference. The tool lets just about anyone build personalized iPhone apps for communicating to your fans, followers, or friends and family. Right now, programmers will charge thousands of dollars to create apps for people. That’s affordable for a large publisher, but not for an individual who might want to distribute a personal podcast along with all of the Twitter or blog chatter related to it. AppWhirl hopes to make developing an app virtually free for ordinary folks.
Richard Jordan, co-founder of AppWhirl, says the strategy resembles that of companies that made it cheaper and cheaper to create websites. At first, in the mid-1990s, web consultants charged thousands of dollars to create websites for companies. Then tools emerged that made it much easier to create sites; no one needed to know HTML code anymore. Eventually, the tools became free, the priesthood of HTML slingers broke up, and the masses were able to create their own websites using tools that made the task easy.
Jordan hopes to do the same with customized iPhone apps that tie together a personal Twitter feed, RSS feed, podcast feed, Facebook status update, YouTube channel, Flickr feed, or just about any other social feed. You drag and drop feeds into a template and check out the resulting app in a simulator. Then AppWhirl creates the code for the app and submits it to Apple’s App Store. For free apps, there is no charge. For paid apps, AppWhirl will take a cut of the proceeds.
Jordan, who  started the firm with Anurag Misra, a software developer who previously worked on mobile projects for Yahoo, said he got the idea over the Fourth of July weekend last year as he heard his Twitter-obsessed wife talk about how there should be personal apps for people. Jordan figured that plenty of people would subscribe to these personal apps and use them frequently; a mother-in-law, for instance, could subscribe to her daughter-in-law’s feed to watch the progress of grandkids.
“We are going after the mass market,” Jordan said.
One of the company’s first users are the producers of the 10th Wonder Heroes Podcast, about the TV show Heroes. The podcasters got lots of followers for their feed, which costs $3 as an app. Jordan said, “If you package something that is ordinarily free in a beautiful way, people don’t mind paying for it.”
Another customer is Starkville, a social network built around the fans of the TV show Smallville. So far, a hundred apps have been built since October, but AppWhirl has made no public announcements about the platform until today.
Over time, Jordan said AppWhirl will add platforms beyond the iPhone, such as Google’s Android. The company has three employees and is considering raising capital. Rivals include Mobile Roadie and Appmakr. Those rivals are charging more for their app creation services.
Tags: DemoBeat, DEMOSpring10
Companies: Appwhirl
People: Anurag Misra, Richard Jordan

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