Andromo: Android app maker review
There are many online app makers out there that promise to build a great app for you if you don’t know how to develop Android apps yourself. Andromo is one of the more popular ones and unlike many other app builders, this is an Android only tool. This is promising, as many online Android app creators started out as iOS only tools and added Android support as an afterthought.
Unlike Android app makers such as Buzztouch, AppMkr, Appsbar and iBuildApp, Andromo does not offer a complete free version. A free account allows you to “kick the tires” but you will need a paid account to build a .apk (the packaged app you can install on a device and upload to an app store). The basic option costs $25/month or $100/year. For your money the app will have no advertising but the “about” screen will display a “Powered by Andromo” message and you will not be able to customize the .apk’s internal package name. The professional account removes these limitations but will cost you $895/year.
Main editing page
After signing up and confirming via an email link you will be directed to a page where you can start building your first app. The main page of the app builder has eight different tabs:
This one is pretty self-explanatory (see picture below).
Here is where you build most of the app’s functionality. You can add activities (screens) chosen from a set of different options (picture).
Clicking on the icon of an activity directs you to a page where you can edit the options for that activity.
The options differ depending on the type of activity you chose. These are all pretty standard and what you’d expect when compared with other app makers such as iBuildApp and Appsbar. They are mostly based on internet access and content. There are no options that use the device’s camera or sensors such as an accelerometer.
Here you can set the colors for the background, header, text etc.
Lets you choose colors, background image, background texture and more for the main page of the app.
Choose colors for the action bar at the top of the screen.
Ads & Analytics
Now here’s a very interesting feature… you can set up a website profile in Google Analytics for the app. Enter the web property ID provided by Google in Andromo and Analytics will track visits to the activities within the application! This can provide some very useful data about your app’s usage, such as the type of content that’s the most popular with users.
Furthermore, it’s nice to see the option of integrating ads. Combined with Google Analytics, this feature makes Andromo a viable choice for customers who want to develop apps for commercial purposes.
The final two tabs “Build” and “Showcase” are only for paid versions. I didn’t get to see them… more about that later.
The Andromo proposition
Unlike some of the other online app creators I’ve tested, Andromo doesn’t offer a preview of the app if you have a free account. The free account does allow you to check out and play with the app builder’s feature set but you will have to pay to see the actual result.
Other Android app builders have a free version that is supported by ads. Usually this means that if you like your app and you want to get rid of the ads and/or branding you must upgrade to a paid account. It is understandable that Andromo have chosen not to rely on ad revenue. Another option would have been a onetime fee for an app but the subscription model they chose to go with is probably more lucrative. It also makes handling app updates easier, as you can always come back to your account and make changes to your app.
However, I think the proposition would really benefit from some sort of preview function in the app maker interface, similar to many other Android app makers. Seeing the app while it is being built or at least a rendering of the end result would have made it more likely for someone like me to try the paid option. But because you won’t know exactly what you get until after you pay, I decided not to upgrade to a paid account…
Therefore, this review is not (yet) complete but hopefully it can help you decide if you should at least give the free version a try. As consumers we have become so accustomed to free, high quality tools that many of us probably won’t pay for a product like this. Whether this is a good or a bad thing is up for debate. I can imagine that having a fully functional free version, like some competitors have, would help convince Andromo customers to upgrade to the paid version. In all fairness though, I don’t know whether this is the case because I don’t have access to the revenue numbers of Andromo or any of its competitors.
If you are a hobbyist wanting to try out building an app idea with an online app maker, then money is probably an issue. In that case you may want to try another Android app maker that offers a free version that will actually deliver an app. However, if you’re more serious about building an app to either promote your existing business or to make money from Play Store sales or ads, then Andromo might just be the Android app creator you’ve been looking for!