Lauren Goode

Recent Posts by Lauren Goode

Treemo’s Appafolio Turns Brochures Into Offline Apps

Yet another company has created an app for making apps. But this one wants to take apps offline.

Seattle-based Treemo Labs has created an iOS app maker called Appafolio that requires no code in the app-building process, will show up to 10 screens of data or imagery, and caches the app content so the app will work even when an Internet connection isn’t available.

The company wants to become an app resource for business users and marketing professionals who want to create brochure-like apps that likely won’t pass muster in the App Store. Appafolio is free, though there will be a premium model that offers more bells and whistles.

There’s also a simple Appafolio pass phrase that app makers can use as a URL and share with anybody, directing iPhone and iPad users directly to their app instead of to an app store or marketplace. The link won’t, however, work on a Web browser.

Treemo co-founder and CEO Brent Brookler pointed to camera company Contour as an example. Contour used Appafolio to show off its new line of cameras a few weeks ago at the Consumer Electronics Show — where the cellular service and Wi-Fi connectivity is notoriously bad. The company used an iPad as a kind of marketing brochure at its booth, and since the content of the app could be downloaded and cached in advance, there were no issues swiping through the Contour app and viewing all of the data available.

Of course, the number of companies that help people make apps is as large as the day is long — and some them also offer no-code builds. There’s also AppMkr, AppIncubator, AppWhirl from, AppVoyage and EachScape, which just nabbed $3 million in Series A funding, to name just a handful.

While the Appafolio product is geared toward business clients, the app maker doesn’t allow users to import things like PDF or PowerPoint files. So, for an offline deck, the non-iPad-owning business user might still turn to other software applications to create slides or brochures.

And while Brookler sees getting an Android app going as an important step to market Appafolio to the masses, for now the app is iOS-only.

Brookler says the app isn’t just for business users; a casual user might want to create an app for a wedding, for example. But that sort of app is also unlikely to pass App Store muster, so Appafolio makes it easier for those users to become developers for a day.

Seattle-based Treemo Labs launched in 2005 and has mainly created apps for media properties, including CBS News, “60 Minutes” and “Survivor,” as well as music video apps.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik