What blogging platforms like Tumblr and WordPress did for web publishing, appRenaissance CEO Bob Moul wants to do for mobile app development. That is, make it easier and more accessible than ever before.
The Old City mobile app shop unveiled this week Artisan, being hailed by Moul as a platform on which users can more easily develop, deploy, test and track mobile applications. It’s a product swing at the buzzy and money-fueled, if crowded, mobile conversation that is fast coming to the height of technology perspective.
“This is going to change the world of mobile,” said Moul, not afraid of a bold claim. “We’re bringing all [this] great functionality to mobile so that businesses can use native mobile apps to be powerful, dynamic marketing channels just like their websites.”
In February, when Moul was named CEO, he bristled at Technically Philly suggesting that appRenaissance was simply a software shop doing contract mobile work: scalable products would follow, he said then. Artisan is meant to be just such an example, and his investors, too, seem to be cheering the swing into the traditionally more profitable product space. (In April, the firm raised another $1.5 million in funding.)
What does Artisan do that matters? Moul says, it will do the following:
- Broadly make mobile app development easier. The initial release of Artisan will allow ‘non-technical’ users to trial various user-interfaces.
- Allow on-the-fly updates from the cloud, so users can experience live-changes, like a web browsing experience. “Instead of the user interface being hardcoded on your phone after you download an app, we deliver the user interface and experience dynamically from the cloud, so it can be dynamically changed.”
- Offer richer A/B testing with deeper analytics for conversion and usage on apps. This is not unlike what Conshohocken’s Monetate has done more broadly for ecommerce and other enterprise A/B testing on the web.
With all this updating from the cloud, one might question if the process would take away from one of the core strengths of native apps, their speed, but Moul says nope. “[This] will not impact performance as updates are downloaded in background,” he said.
Now in private beta and due to launch publicly in January 2013, Artisan is a SaaS model that will run between $1,000 and updwards of $12,000 a month, says Moul, “and will be “metered” by some combination of number of apps, number of users, and volume e.g. number of tests.”