I’ve been experimenting with a new service called AppsBar, which lets you create mobile apps for iPhone and Android, which can be published to iTunes, Android Market and Windows Marketplace (once the apps pass an approval process which takes approximately 10-14 days.) AppsBar is 100% free and has no pay wall, credit card sign-up requirements or other nonsense–kudos for that.
The image to the right is what I was working on–an application for my vinyl record site Turntabling.net. I wanted to see if AppsBar could support an app to let me sell records online using PayPal and images already online at Turntabling.
The idea was to let people impulse buy bargain-bin vinyl records using a mobile phone. Could AppsBar let me do this quickly and keep the same basic user experience as my (admittedly no-frills) website Turntabling.net?
So far, so good!
For that purpose, AppsBar seems fairly simple and fun to use. The site features a wizard that lets even the most technically disadvantaged among us create apps for content, images, videos, and yes, sale items. I set up a Turntabling page with six albums for sale complete with PayPal payment buttons in about ten minues, using HTML I already had from the blog post.
What does this mean for freelancers?
AppsBar could be an excellent tool for you put your freelance services, portfolio, resume, e-books, blogs, etc. into a mobile format you can direct potential clients to. The “look how cool I am!” factor can’t be underestimated here–especially if you’re dealing with clients who aren’t themselves very tech-savvy. The app creation wizard is simple and fun to use–if you are able to use WordPress to create/publish a blog post, AppsBar won’t be a challenge for you to learn.
AppsBar apps are offered for free once they are approved and published–you can’t sell your app. That’s not a deal-breaker in my mind; the service is free, so the app is free. No problem for those of us who are shameless self-promoters and see this as a way to reach into the mobile marketplace.
I think the most important thing for freelancers to remember about creating a mobile app of any kind is to consider the crowded marketplace and think how to best use a tool like AppsBar to solve a particular problem or give a good reason for the person downloading the app to take the time–remember, there are probably more apps now than there are cell phones. What does YOURS offer that the others don’t? An important question to ask before hitting “Publish”.
All in all, AppsBar seems to be a very solid platform for freelancers who have a specific idea in mind on what they’d like to do with a mobile app. Those who look at AppsBar, take time to think, and start creating with some concrete notions of how to best use the product will do very well with this free service.