Technologizer

Kleverbeast Wants to Make Tablet Apps as Easy as Blogging

A new service lets you create iPad and Android tablet apps with no expertise and relatively little money.

  • Share
  • Read Later
Kleverbeast

Photographer Lawrence Schiller talks about his shots of Marilyn Monroe in an app created with Kleverbeast.

One of the best things about the web is that anyone can build a website, without much technical prowess or a huge financial investment. But mobile apps? They haven’t been like that at all.

Enter New York startup Kleverbeast. It says that its mission is to let non-geeks create rich, attractive apps in much the same way that blog services such as WordPress and Squarespace make web publishing into a point-and-click process. It’s doing so through a browser-based service which launched this week. At the moment, the service allows for the creation of iPad and Android tablet apps; support for the iPhone, Android phones, Windows and the web is in the works.

Now, services designed to let non-programmers create mobile software are nothing new. Most of the existing options, however, produce crude-looking apps, are limited in scope or basically involve wrapping up a website inside an app. (One of the most impressive contenders, Cabana, was bought by Twitter and discontinued when it was just a fledgling.)

Like a blog platform, Kleverbeast lets users choose templates, including ones designed for particular subjects such as photos, travel, music and fashion. Creators can customize these themes and plop in content — including text, photos, videos and more — which can be dynamically updated over the Internet. Co-founder Dinesh Moorjani told me that the system also supports app-store features such as notifications and in-app purchases.

I checked out two free art-centric iPad apps built with KleverBeast’s tools: Lawrence Schiller’s Marilyn and America in the 1960s (which is exactly what it sounds like) and Zeng Fanzhi (the works of a Chinese artist). They were both slick, fluid and gorgeous, and neither looked like something thrown together with a one-size-fits-all publishing platform.

Pricewise, Kleverbeast isn’t so bloglike. There’s no free option; a basic account is $29 a month, the Pro version is $199 a month and high-end users can strike custom deals with the company based on their needs. If you want to publish apps directly to Apple’s App Store, you’ll also need to spend $99 a year for a developer account. What Kleverbeast is competing with isn’t so much a free web site as a custom-designed app — something which can cost five, six or more figures if you outsource the job to a team of programmers and designers.

It would be cool if the company came up with a pricing tier which would put its platform within reach of casual consumers. (Squarespace doesn’t have a free service either, but it starts at just eight bucks a month.) Even its current incarnation, Kleverbeast is cheap enough — and looks straightforward enough — to appeal to a class of folks who’d never otherwise create their own apps. Klever, indeed.

0 comments