Looks like the App Store is about to get even more crowded — if that’s possible. App developer PointAbout has rolled out AppMakr, a self-serve platform that lets anyone create an iPhone app for about $200, in “under an hour.” That means everyone from indie bloggers, to small business owners, to hobbyists can at least create an app. And while AppMakr doesn’t guarantee that *Apple* will ultimately approve every app it generates, it offers detailed guidelines and best practices for approval.
Publishers need an existing website to supply the apps with content; they plug in the URL, choose targeted keywords, and then AppMakr creates a sample app. They can customize the app by adding content feeds from Twitter, YouTube, and iTunes; they can also choose new icons, header images and color schemes. AppMakr even includes e-commerce: Publishers can decide to make a paid app or embed ads from *Google* (DoubleClick, AdSense and AdMob) or Medialets; it appears that in-app purchase is not an option at this time.
Rivals include open-source tech developer Appcelerator, which has already partnered with agencies like Razorfish and Tribal DDB to help speed up their app development processes. But as Mediapost notes, Appcelerator shortens the time frame to about two weeks — not an hour. This makes AppMakr competition for both third-party services like Appcelerator, and the agencies themselves.
Still, the quick, self-serve nature of AppMakr does raise the question of app quality. Analytics, for example, are limited to third-party tracking codes, or stats that come from the ad providers like Admob. PointAbout also includes bug fixes for free, but any feature upgrades are counted as completely new app submissions. Meanwhile, for people that want a bit more control (like an app completely free of AppMakr branding), the cost is more like $600: $99 for an Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) Developer Account and then $499 for the “provisioning, building and management” of the apps by PointAbout.